On Wednesday Feb. 14th in Parkland, Florida a tragedy struck our nation and is a reminder the importance of safety in our schools. It is also a reminder that we live in a world where we have to be well prepared and on the lookout for any potential threat. School safety is everyone’s responsibility.
I too have children in Lewis Cass Schools as well as a wife who teaches in Kindergarten. I feel confident that our schools are safe and so is my family. Below, I have listed the safety items we have in place to keep our students, staff and community safe. As well, by the time the 2018-19 school year starts we will have our new entrances and offices built to extend our safety protocol and provide another layer of security. As part of the building project we are also installing and updating our security cameras.
- Visitors are to only come to the main entrance of a building and must sign in and out.
- Access is only allowed once a legitimate reason for being in the schools has been determined.
- All staff, extended visitors and construction workers must have an approved background check on file (I personally approve each one).
- Our safety plan is reviewed yearly with the administrators and directors for updates and modifications.
- As the superintendent, I start each year (corporation meeting) reviewing our corporation safety plan and place emphasis on intruders.
- We also submit to the state our safety plan, per the law, and it is reviewed by the state.
- All administrators, including myself, are trained by the state and we are certified School Safety Specialists. We stay certified each year.
- We complete 2-3 lock down drills each year.
- I have also instructed our administrators and directors to review, over the past few days, our Safety Plan with the staff and remind them of the protocols and their responsibilities.
- We have never taken safety lightly and we discuss safety measures monthly during the superintendent’s staff meeting.
- We have a screening process for all of our expulsions.
- Installing new door locks for classrooms. (part of construction)
- The importance of keeping outside doors closed and locked.
- If you see or hear something, say something.
- Report any concern immediately to your teacher or principal.
- There are also anonymous ways to report information but time can be critical to ensuring safety.
I pray every day for our schools and I ask that you please keep the families, students and staff in Parkland, Florida in your prayers along with the other victims of senseless attacks that have devastated so many communities.
Dr. Tim Garland