School Safety and Student Walkouts

The events of February 14, 2018 in Parkland, FL brought to light renewed vigor and concern related to student safety while attending school.  Perhaps it has even renewed concerns about safety for all, and in all spaces.  Even a small, local high school found itself in the midst of a cyber threat that created a lockdown situation and made national news.

Over the past several weeks I have had several parents ask me if I can assure them that nothing will happen to their child at school.  I cannot assure that any more than I can assure them nothing will happen in their home, or on the way to or from school, or at McDonald’s, etc.  We can never make schools or communities completely safe; we can merely try to put into place measures to make them “safer”.

After this summer, our hopes are that all interior classroom doors will have interior push button locks, so that in the event of an intruder or lockdown or any type, a teacher will not need to try to lock the door with a key.  But neither can a student lock a door from the inside that no one can enter (which some of the barricade devices now in play physically prevent anyone from entering without breaking down the door somehow).  We also are planning on finishing the Middle School’s entryway with a secured vestibule similar to all the other buildings.

We work closely with the Geneseo Police and will be reviewing the ALICE protocols in case we are ever faced with an armed intruder.   If you have a middle school and/or high school student you will be receiving information about how the buildings will be working with students relative to the March 14th and April 20th national walk out/protest events.  Our focus during these events are for student safety at the foremost; and not what kind of consequences for discipline are being considered.  We respect the students’ need to join with others to commemorate the loss of 17 student and 3 staff lives in Florida, and to civilly address their concerns about student safety.

As I mentioned, more information will be forthcoming from the buildings.  These are important times for responsible conversations at school; and we also recognize how important these times are for responsible parental conversations with your children about their personal safety.

Congratulations, Billy!

This article in the Dispatch displays a great example of humility, grit, and perseverance.  It was also very timely as our teachers went through a full day of inservice on Monday, January 15th that centered around concepts of student growth and how important it is that we all employ a “growth” mindset.  While it’s important to celebrate specific milestones– like winning your division in the Geneseo Wrestling Invitational, or being selected for ILMEA Music All-State, or scoring well on your SAT test– it’s also important to focus on what that 1% additional, daily steps towards improvement can make.

Thank you, Billy, for reminding us of the progress and growth that you have made; and for reminding all of us that tomorrow we can choose to work to be a little bit better than we are today!