February 19, 2018
Dear W-MU Families,
I’m sure we’ve all had on our minds the tragic school shooting that took place last week in Florida. Our hearts go out to the victims, their families, and to the school community itself to the unimaginable shock and grief these people are going through. Understandably, we’ve received some concerns about what W-MU has in place for procedures in the event something like this were to happen here. Also, questions have been raised about how secure and accessible our building is during the school day.
I want to assure everyone that we take student and staff safety very seriously. We have crisis plan procedures in place that we review at the beginning and throughout the year, and have these procedures in written form that are provided to our staff in every classroom and work area. We have been reviewing our evacuation and dangerous person/intruder plans specifically over the course of this school year.
As we think about planning and fine tuning procedures, we need to also plan how to practice the procedures. Like fire and tornado drills, which we are very good at, I believe evacuation and lockdown procedures need to be practiced in the form of drills also. Therefore, we plan to conduct both a lockdown and an evacuation drill later this school year.
We intend to involve parents and family members in this to some extent, including offering the opportunity of picking up students from the evacuation points. In either drill, we will make sure to communicate the fact that it is only a drill in order to not alarm parents or students. We will also involve law enforcement in these drills. More information will be provided in the coming days and weeks.
We will also be discussing with students that these procedures will be practiced. Age appropriate conversations will take place beforehand as we certainly don’t want to scare students. However, we want them to be better able to listen carefully and follow directions from their teacher, and better prepared to respond to these directions while minimizing the panic feelings in an actual situation.
The other part of this is ensuring building security. There are certainly some structural things we’re considering for both building and individual classroom security. We currently have our central office located in the front lobby with check in procedures in place. Every person who enters the building needs to check in with the secretary. There can be no exceptions to this if we want to have the most secure environment for students and staff. This has to apply to everyone no matter how well known you feel you may be. Name tags and ID’s must be worn if you plan to be in any other part of the building than the front lobby. This also goes for parents bringing our dropping off their children at school. Please help keep our building safe and secure by following this established procedure, and please don’t be offended if you are reminded by someone that you need to remain in the front lobby if you’re not wearing a name tag or ID.
Please don’t hesitate to contact the school if you see or hear anything disturbing, especially related to posts on social media. We’re instructing the staff and will be talking with students about the importance of sharing information as well. We ask for your help in discussing this with your kids at home.
In closing, I believe our school is a safe place for our students and staff. Our goal is to be as proactive and prepared as possible. We will continue to update and work to improve both our safety and security procedures. You can expect more communication on training and enhancements to what we already have in place in the future. Again, please don’t hesitate to report any concerns or information you may have to the school.