School Board statement on school safety

By Dr. Marci Larsen, Superintendent | May 02, 2018

The issue of safety and security in our schools is always a strong concern, but has been increasingly so during the past few months since the tragic school shooting in Florida, the resulting activism by students, and our own incident here in the Mukilteo School District where a student was arrested for planning an attack on one of our schools.

As part of our effort to keep parents and the community informed about our efforts in this area, we hosted a public meeting with one of the nation’s leading experts on supporting students and staff members at times of crisis. We have also offered presentations during our school board meetings about the three areas of focus in our safety and security planning: physical and facility security systems, training to assure proper response, and providing social and emotion support to students and staff members.

Last week, the members of our school board got together in a special meeting to discuss the topic further and agreed to a statement that outlines their beliefs on the issue.

The statement is as follows:

“The Mukilteo School Board joins the entire community in expressing concern for gun-related violence in public schools throughout the country over the last 50 years, including our own. Our mission is to educate and prepare students for the world after graduation and to provide our staff the support necessary to create the best environment for student achievement. That work can't succeed if our students or staff come to school afraid or don't come to school at all because of fear. We, as a Board, are committed to safe and welcoming schools.

“Student and staff safety is essential and a continuous initiative, not a once a year report.

“No amount of security is failsafe, but feeling safe is foundational for effective teaching and learning to take place.

“We also believe that turning our school facilities into armed fortresses is counterproductive to our mission.

“Emergency plans are district, facility and building wide. These include an Incident Command Structure, family reunification plans, and ongoing exercises and drills for all staff and students.

“Social and emotional student and staff support is a cornerstone for safe schools. The District will continue to provide access to mental health resources for students and staff.

“The Board supports efforts to instill confidence and resilience in all members of our school community at the same time as we endeavor to reduce incidents of harassment and bullying.

“The Board supports raising student, family and staff awareness about the use of social media when school safety is threatened. We encourage everyone to be proactive and report potential threats.

“The Board is committed to regularly communicating to our community the ongoing efforts to provide a safe learning environment for our students and staff.”

If you have an interest in the issue of safety and security in our schools, there are two more opportunities for you to participate and learn more.

The presentation to the school board about efforts to support the social and emotional needs of students and staff members will take place during the board’s regular meeting at 6 p.m. on Monday, May 14 at the District Office.

We also will hold a community meeting at 6:30 p.m. on Thursday, May 24 at Mariner High School.

At that event, you’ll have a chance to hear more about the three areas of focus for our safety and security efforts, and there will be an opportunity for you to provide input to us about this important issue.

I hope to see you there.

 

 

 

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