Superintendent meets public on school safety

Community Members:

Yet again, the nation has experienced another great tragedy in Connecticut. The Salida School District, in collaborative work with law enforcement and our Emergency Manager, are being very proactive due to this tragedy as we move forward with stricter security in all of our buildings.  We want to ensure, to our very best abilities, students, staff and visitors to our buildings are as safe as possible.  We are getting a new elementary school, yet that is a year-and-a-half ahead of us. We simply can’t wait that long to ensure that the current facility, and all of our buildings, are as secure as possible.

We have recently vastly improved the security systems with the new Salida High School.  We have applied the same applications to the Salida Middle School.  Due to the heightened national security of all public facilities, we are continuing to work to make our schools as safe as they can be.  We have been working with our Emergency Management Team for the past two years, holding several meetings and training sessions for our key staff members.  We routinely have lockdown and evacuation drills, and have monthly fire drills.  We know we constantly need more training and communication, and we continue to plan for future training and drills.

As of Mon., Dec. 17, the following measures are  in place:

All outside doors at Longfellow Elementary are secured each day.  Visitors to the building will have to be physically let in by Longfellow staff, through the main entry door only, as it will also be locked during school hours. We do similar practices at Crest Academy, the Early Childhood Center and the Kesner Building, where Horizons Academy students and staff, along with District Administrative staff are housed.

School counselors and additional counselors will be present at all buildings in case students or staff members need to talk about this situation. Extra law enforcement protection are in place this week. These practices will continue until we can get better systems in place at these buildings.

We will hold a Community Meeting, Wed., Dec. 19, 2012, at the High School Auditorium, at 5:30 p.m. District Staff and other members of our Emergency Management Team will go over our current and future plans and answer any questions.
We will hold an ALL STAFF meeting, Thurs., Dec. 20, 2012 , at the High School Auditorium, at 1:15 p.m.  District Staff and Law Enforcement officials will go over our current and future plans and answer any questions.  Again, District Staff and Emergency Management Team Members will go over our current and future plans and answer any questions.

It  is critical that our students, and entire staff, including volunteers, along with the community, understand the importance of not chalking, blocking, or rocking doors open.  We will strictly enforce this.  It is also vital that all outside doors are locked during the school day.

We are not in a panic mode. We are carefully being proactive and taking all needed precautions to again ensure we are doing everything possible to keep our students, staff and all visitors to our buildings as safe as possible.

Darryl E. Webb
Superintendent, Salida School District R-32-J

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