Recent school shootings have been on all of our minds and most certainly weighed heavily on our hearts.
My sincere condolences go out to the families and students in the affected communities. Schools should never be places of such violence, and students and staff should never have to prepare for these unthinkable events. Unfortunately, we must.
As we pause to remember and pray for the families, we also reflect on our security measures. Continued safety is at the forefront of every educational stakeholder. Continued review of safety/crisis management plans, ongoing conversations with local law enforcement and renewed professional and student education on safety and mental health awareness are top priorities. School districts continually review and enforce the implementation of the provisions of the School Safety Drill Act, provide regular and consistent training and preparation along with the participation of local responders, and implement periodic security vulnerability assessments.
School safety teams develop and implement comprehensive safety and crisis plans that address prevention, protection, mitigation, response, and recovery. Regular and direct communication with O’Fallon Public Safety is one of the most important actions our local school districts can take to ensure safe school environments. School districts keep an open channel of communication with them and we are very fortunate to have O’Fallon Public Safety as a continued and valuable partner. We consistently work together in reviewing and updating our crisis plans and protocols.
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Additionally, our staff participates in the most current trainings available.
Working together is the key to making schools as safe as possible. Parents, students and community members also play an important role in keeping our schools safe. Social media threats should be immediately reported. Never assume the person is joking. Authorities are more equipped to determine a level of threat than someone who might see it online.
Illinois Attorney General Lisa Madigan established a School Violence Tipline 1-800-477-0024 that can be a valuable tool. While 911 should still be used for any immediate emergencies, the tipline was created as a reporting tool for anyone to anonymously report threats of violence.
Warning signs include:
- playing with weapons;
- bragging about plans to commit violent acts;
- obsessing over violent movies, games or images;
- engaging in threatening behavior; and/or
- showing cruelty to animals.
The safety of our students and staff remains a top priority for area schools. If you have any questions or concerns please don’t hesitate to contact your local school district.
For concerns about District 90, please contact me (firstname.lastname@example.org) or District 90’s Director of Safety and Security Mark Berry (email@example.com).
Let’s work together to keep our schools safe.