In the wake of the tragic school shooting in Parkland, Florida on Feb. 14, I am writing to assure you that the safety of your children and our staff and employees is our number one priority and something that we work at constantly.
While we cannot detail all aspects of our security plans, I do want to take a few minutes and remind you about what is in place and provide you with some information about our ongoing efforts.
Training and Protocols
We review security protocols with staff throughout the year and, as you know, practice response drills to a variety of different situations with our students. We have comprehensive building- and district-level safety plans and an active district safety committee. This committee includes district administrators, police and fire officials, operational staff and teachers.
We utilize the intercom or “buzz in” procedures in our buildings, and continue to review where, and when, building access should be more restricted. As part of our ongoing work, we will be identifying additional training and/or exercises that can enhance our emergency preparedness. We are also discussing the possibility of upgrading to our security system, resulting in improved capabilities across all our schools.
Strong Relationship with Police
We have a strong working relationship with the Village of Liberty Police Department and do not hesitate to call law enforcement to our schools as needed. Police are regularly in our buildings for specific issues and events and we regularly seek law enforcement guidance in how we can be proactive and provide staff with the most up-to-date training. Our School Resource Officer patrols each of our school buildings regularly.
If You See Something, Say Something
It is also important to emphasize that our students and families are a critical part of keeping our schools safe. We encourage students to talk to an adult at school whenever they have a concern or notice something that does not seem right, and we ask all of you to do the same.
Supporting Students and Staff
We encourage our students to be actively engaged citizens who are knowledgeable about multiple viewpoints surrounding current events. We strive to teach them how to participate in our democracy through a variety of ways, including addressing lawmakers through letters, creative works that help express how they feel and having discussions. Through these kinds of experiences, our students learn the skills they need to form, support and express their own personal positions on issues.
To that end, while we are not endorsing any particular viewpoint, we respect students’ rights to express themselves and their desire to memorialize the lives that were lost at Parkland last month so long as it is done in a safe, peaceful manner.
I know I share this sentiment with the entire district: every time we hear of a tragedy such as this one in Parkland, Florida, our hearts ache for everyone involved. I cannot say or underscore enough, the safety of our students is my number one priority as Interim Superintendent of this district. If you have any questions today, or in the future about safety practices in our schools, please do not hesitate to reach out to my office or your building principal.
Interim Superintendent of Schools