Dear Parents, Families and Staff:
We are all deeply saddened by the recent tragedy that took place in Parkland, Florida. These recurring high-profile acts of violence in schools can have a deep and profound effect on everyone, especially students. As a mother of two young men, one a recent Sherwood High School graduate, these senseless acts affect me in ways that words cannot express. As a Superintendent, I am equally as horrified, saddened, and angry — when a fire alarm is used as a way to lure students out of a building — it takes the level of worry and horror to an entirely new level. It’s unimaginable and unthinkable — yet now we have to imagine and think about that scenario.
Incidents like what happened last Wednesday remind us all about the importance of preparation and continuous safety improvement. Safety lock-down drills through the Standard Response Protocol Program (SRP) are practiced district-wide to prepare for safety related scenarios.
The District has worked diligently over the years on our safety protocols. Between today and Friday, March 2 we are participating in unannounced lock-down drills at all seven school buildings; those have been planned for several months. In addition, we have a very close partnership with the Sherwood Police Department and are being even more vigilant today about our school security. The SRP program focuses on four actions to help support student safety:
Please read the District’s Emergency Preparedness Information Document to learn more about our safety and communication protocols. The easy-to-read document provides information about the differences between the four SRP program actions, step-by-step procedures, and useful tips to share with students.
Our students will look to adults for information and guidance on how to react. Parents and staff can help students feel safe by talking with them about their fears. The National Association of School Psychologists (NASP) recommends the following strategies:
More details are provided in the NASP handout, “Talking to Children About Violence: Tips for Parents and Teachers.” This article is available in English (PDF), Spanish (PDF) and as an Infographic (PDF).
The well-being of our students and staff is our highest concern. As always, we continue to do everything in our power to keep our students and staff out of harm’s way.
To say that our thoughts and prayers are with the students, staff and families of Parkland, Florida, seems woefully inadequate — but it is true, and it is heartfelt.