As a reminder, for the past year or so my husband and I have been trying to get our school district to take proactive measures to help protect the children who attend schools here. We are not people who believe it is possible to fully, 100%, guarantee anyone’s safety. It is possible that even with good solid plans in place and even if those plans are properly implemented, that harm could come to one of our children while in the care of the school. Life is a risk and we accept that, however, we also believe there are ways to up the odds in favor of preventing or limiting harm from anyone trying to commit a violent criminal act.
We have mostly received the polite smile and pat on the head treatment. After the events in Connecticut I wrote to the principal of our little one’s school and stated again that I hoped those in charge were not using the fingers crossed and hope nothing bad happens here approach. I informed them that if they did nothing more and something did happen here, it would not go unnoticed by me. I, once again, offered them a wide variety of resources to consult.
I do not think my meetings, phone calls, emails or strongly worded letters made a bit of difference, but I did receive a mass email that gave me hope they were listening to someone if not me. I see a lot of very positive statements.
JOINT TASK FORCE SETS SHORT-TERM AND LONG-TERM GOALS FOR SCHOOL SAFETY MEASURES
The newly formed Joint Task Force, under the direction of the XXX Sheriff, School Superintendent, and County Administrator, met again on December 31, 2012, to debrief on recent school assessments by the Sheriff’s Office and to enhance and strengthen current safety and crisis plan implementation, which included immediate, short-term and long-term safety measures.
During the winter break, all elementary schools were assessed by the Sheriff’s Office and School Staff. This assessment provided valuable information that will be used as the Task Force moves forward with enhancing safety measures at school buildings. When students and staff return to school on January 2, 2013, the Sheriff’s Office will continue an enhanced presence at the Elementary schools and School Resource Officers will continue to be on site in the Middle and High schools. Staff assignments specific to monitoring grounds and buildings will be in place at all elementary schools. Increased communications measures will be in place. Additionally, enhanced staff training provided by the Sheriff’s Office will begin this week.
The Task Force is also working to develop a volunteer program that will enable citizens and parents to help monitor grounds and buildings and provide additional eyes and ears at the schools. More details are forthcoming.
Other items discussed included County and School staff partnering to explore potential grant opportunities that might assist in securing additional funding for the safety enhancements recommended by the Task Force and to provide additional school staff training in conjunction with the Sheriff’s Office and first responders such as fire and rescue.
Members of the Joint Task Force include Dr. XXX XXX, XXX School Superintendent, Sheriff XXX, and XXX, XXX County Administrator, as well as staff from each entity including fire and rescue and principals. The purpose of the Joint Task Force is to streamline communications between entities and create efficiencies in the review, development, and implementation of safety measures. The group will meet on an ongoing basis to discuss the progress of school safety enhancements. The next Joint Task Force meeting is planned for early January.
We shall see what, if any action actually comes from this.