The safety and welfare of our students and staff are our highest priorities. To provide schools an opportunity to practice emergency response procedures, the District has scheduled in-class discussions and/or school assemblies in all of our schools regarding lockdowns, threat preparedness, and evacuation scenarios starting in late September, or early October. These in-class discussions will be led by our Safety and Security Consultant and WASD Administration. Over the next several weeks, these discussions and activities will be conducted at each building.
The purpose of these discussions is to make our students aware of the appropriate response in the time of an emergency. This includes a discussion on the school’s preparedness for an “Active Shooter” scenario. I realize this is a difficult conversation to have with our students and I assure you that our presenters will structure their comments to the appropriate context when considering their audience. Students are also encouraged to ask their own questions and participate in these discussions.
In mid-October, the District has planned a variety of drills regarding threat preparedness and active shooter scenarios that serve as a follow-up to the discussions held in late September, and early October. The purpose of these drills is to make our students aware of the appropriate response in the time of an emergency. This includes responding to an “Active Shooter” scenario. Please note that no gunshots/blanks will be fired during these drills at any time.
Over the last few years, the District has taken a variety of steps to increase our preparedness and awareness regarding these types of unfortunate events. The goals of the training drill are to improve our ability to protect students, save lives, and reduce injuries. As part of the District’s plan, I feel it is necessary to conduct these school-wide discussions and drills to help staff and students understand the topic as well as be prepared to the best of our ability in the case of a lockdown or an active shooter scenario.
As a District, we deliberately do not publish every detail of our safety plan as we feel that would make our schools more vulnerable to a person who might want to do harm to our children. However, we can tell you that we routinely review the lockdown procedures in every building and have gone over these procedures with our staff members. Over the next several days and weeks, we will complete lockdown drills at each of our schools with our students. When we do these types of drills, please know that we always communicate with our students in an age-appropriate manner.
In closing, we are committed to doing everything it takes to keep our students safe. These drills and assemblies are a part of our overall safety plan. If you feel that the topic of “Active Shooter” is too sensitive for your child, please contact your child’s school to request that they be removed from the assembly. Each school will have a location for those families who wish not to be a part of the day’s conversation.