School Safety

School Safety
Posted on 03/09/2018
School Safety

PRINCIPAL’S MESSAGE:  Our lives are impacted by far too many incidents of gun violence.  A quick Google search revealed just over 30 tragedies in the United States since the beginning of 2018.  These acts of violence threaten our feelings of security in places that should be safe- like schools.  The National Association of School Psychologists published an article in 2016 that contained seven tips for parents and educators when talking to children about violence;

  1. Reassure children they are safe.
  2. Make time to talk.
  3. Keep explanation developmentally appropriate.
  4. Review safety procedures.
  5. Observe children’s emotional state.
  6. Limit television/social media viewing of these events.
  7. Maintain a normal routine.

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Parents often wonder what to do if they are at school when a lockdown occurs.  An announcement for a lockdown is made when police activity is in the neighborhood.  Students, staff and volunteers should stay in the classrooms, with the door(s) locked, window blinds closed, and lights shut off.  We take steps to be most secure when the announcement is made, and then reduce restrictions as additional information becomes available.  When we’ve practiced lockdown drills, or had to respond to actual activity in the neighborhood, we have told students that we need to stay indoors so police can do their best work. 

In the event of a lockdown when children are outside, students know that 3-whistle blows on the playground means STOP, LOOK, LISTEN.  Recess supervisors carry walkie-talkies so messages between the office staff and playground supervisors is timely.  Depending on the threat level and location, students would be instructed to move into the building.

An announcement of an intruder, with as much specific information as possible, would be made in the event of a person or people intending to harm anyone in the schoolhouse.  In this case, we would lockdown and create barriers between the children and doorways and window openings.  Depending on the comfortability of adults, they may counter the intruder.  Evacuating is the next step.

Additional considerations… please treat every drill with seriousness, leading by example for our students.  If you receive an alert that school is in lockdown, don’t call.  Staff will be tending to the children; and we need the phone lines open.  Also, please know the location of evacuation is not predetermined because different situations may require different places for evacuation; and we don’t want an ill-intended person to know where we plan to assemble.  Reunification information would likely be communicated by media.

 Ms. Bracken and I welcome celebrations, concerns, questions and suggestions.  Thank you.

Michelle Jacobs-Mathis
Principal

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