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Dear Shaker Regional Families,
Sunday nights tend to mark the beginning of a new week, full of work and parenting responsibilities. I often feel Sundays are the new Monday. Many of you, like myself, are asking our kids, "Have you finished your homework? Are you looking forward to another week at school? Have you cleaned your room?" These tend to be standard questions on a Sunday night. Unfortunately, with last week's tragedy in Parkland, Florida, the questions you may be asking now are, "Am I sending you to a safe school? Is the school district prepared to handle emergency situations?" Please know that I too am asking the same questions thinking of my daughters and their schools.
As a parent and as your Superintendent, I feel it is important to let you know that there are many safety and security practices in place at our schools. We do have emergency operation plans for all schools. These plans outline the procedures for several different emergency scenarios. We do continuously practice our emergency drills as outlined in our emergency operations plans. We do have a strong working relationships with local police and fire departments. We do have two School Resource Officers that work closely with students, teachers, families, and administrators. We do have an Emergency Management Team that meets regularly throughout the year. This team consists of administrators, police and fire department personnel. This team reviews our emergency management protocols and engages in table top exercises where we run through specific emergency scenarios. We do host training events for our local and regional police departments where they practice their emergency response protocols while school is not in session. We have invested in security upgrades for all buildings over the past year. We have had state agencies and the U.S. Department of Homeland Security visit all of our schools to assess our emergency operation procedures and our security hardware. Their assessment resulted in minimal recommendations for improvements and/or upgrades to our current emergency management protocol and systems. We have made upgrades based on their suggestions.
Please be assured that we do take safety very seriously. We will continue to be diligent in making the right decision about school safety, stay current with security technologies and procedures, and consistently implement our emergency drills. As a community, we can strive to be proactive. We can do our best to identify the signs of emotional suffering in children, adolescents, and adults. Here is a link to the five signs of emotional suffering. The Five Signs. If you do recognize someone who might be exhibiting signs of emotional suffering, please contact a school counselor, administrator, and/or teacher who may provide services or make the right connections.
Together, we can commit to the safety of all in the Shaker Regional School District.