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From the desk of Patricia Perkins, Principal:

I am sure we all have the recent senseless tragedy at Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School in our minds. I am also keenly aware that some of our students do as well. I encourage you to spend time talking with your children who ask questions. I assure you that we will have conversations with our classes as is age appropriate in this situation. We will also refer any concerns to our counseling staff as is our practice.

Too many of our own students have witnessed gun violence already and count on us to keep them safe at school. I want to remind our community of the ways we do our best everyday to keep everyone safe at school.

  1. Our school building is purposefully designed with only ONE entrance which is only accessible by staff ID badge or buzzer via office staff (with video so staff sees who is at the door).
  2. We have security guards walking inside and outside our building regularly and positioned in the front office to ensure no suspicious activity is around us. They facilitate all visitor check-in and ensure that no parent or visitor enters the main hallway without clearance. Our recent upgrade to Hall Pass School Visitor Management provides an increased security measure with time/date badges with photo for all visitors.
  3. There are signs at all inside doors which clearly state, “Students do NOT open the door for anyone.” Students are taught to NEVER ever open exit doors from the inside – even for staff or their parents.
  4. Our front office staff upholds our policy that no parents are allowed inside the hallways without an appointment with teachers or staff members.
  5. We have an Intruder Drill protocol in place should anyone come into our building unwanted or dangerous. Also, we are in the process of reviewing our crisis management protocol. In the past year, the best practice has shifted from hiding and lockdown to a “run, hide, fight” strategy. We are actively looking at other school protocols with the new practice.

Today in Morning Meeting and middle/high school assemblies, I reassured and reminded all students of the important actions that they take to keep our school safe. Our students generally feel safe talking to each other and staff when they see a problem or feel uneasy about a situation. This helps us to ward off potential dangerous situations that may arise. I am proud that we have a culture of openness and trust that our students participate in and rely on for their well-being.

Finally, we have an exceptional faculty and counseling staff who know our students well and take action to make sure they are getting the services and support that students need, and our school -parent communication is strong.

It is hard to think about a tragic situation of this nature at our school, but as your school leader I must continue to do everything I can to be prepared. I appreciate your feedback and input as we continue to put safety first.