The following letter was mailed home to all parents this week:
Dear parents and guardians,
During the first few days of school, I’ve been spending some time in each of our schools to speak with students about how they can take an active role in keeping their schools safe. Many of our older students, especially, are aware of the tragedies that happen in our country far too often in schools and other public places — and we have no control over those events. However, I am reminding our students that we can control how we react and how we show up every day to keep our schools safe.
The number one thing our students can do to create a safe environment is to demonstrate respect — for themselves, their peers, their teachers, our support staff, school administrators, and their school buildings and grounds. I am challenging our students to create connections with each other and with the adults who care for them every day, and also to be observant of their surrounds. We are teaching all of our students that if they see something or hear something, they need to say something to an adult.
These conversations are just the beginning of a push to enhance safety and security in our schools this year. For example, we will no longer be announcing safety drills in advance to any member of the faculty or staff. We believe this change will better prepare our students and staff to act in the case of a real emergency. We will, however, immediately communicate with you, our parents, to inform you we are conducting a drill. On Sept. 25, we will be conducting a test of our mass notification system; I encourage you to read this information carefully to help us make sure we have up-to-date contact information for you so we can reach you in an emergency.
I’d like to take the opportunity to talk with you in more depth about the changes we’re making to our safety and security procedures, as well as listen to your feedback, during a Safety and Security Forum starting at 6:30 p.m., Monday, Sept. 30 in the Margaret Robin Blowers Auditorium. In addition to learning about what we’re doing to enhance student safety, we will also be giving you an opportunity to learn how to find a safe space in any environment — just as your children are learning to do in their classrooms.
If you are interested in attending the Safety and Security Forum on Sept. 30, please visit www.surveymonkey.com/r/B-Psafetyforum to RSVP. While not required, pre-registration is appreciated for planning purposes.
Thank you for trusting us with your children. I hope to see you on the 30th.
Stephen M. Tomlinson
Superintendent of Schools