WBCH offers this space to area superintendents to highlight activities in their school districts. This post is from Lakewood Schools Superintendent Randy Fleenor
Dear Lakewood Public Schools Staff and Families:
Many lives were lost yesterday at Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School in Parkland, Florida, at the hands of a former classmate. Our thoughts and prayers go out to the families, victims, and everyone affected by this tragedy. Unfortunately, school shootings and violence are in the news too often.
While the reasons for these senseless acts of violence will continue to be debated, it is important that schools, families, and communities continue to work together to prevent such incidents from occurring. Lakewood Public Schools has worked hard to provide safeguards for our students and staffs if something were to happen, but also minimize the chance of this happening at all.
In light of recent events, I wanted to relay information about the safety protocols at Lakewood Public Schools. Please know that above all else, student safety is our primary concern. All entrances are locked and monitored (with the exception of our high school-crews will be installing a locked-entry system next week).
Visitors may only access the building through the main entrance buzzed in by a staff member where I.D. may be required. You can support us in ensuring the safety of our staff and students by having your I.D. ready when you come to Lakewood Public Schools for any reason.
Our staff and students have participated in multiple safety drills to ensure we are prepared in the event of an emergency. The district also has liaison officer through Barry County Sheriff Department.
The many challenges our students face today often lead to stress and mental health issues. The best defense in the prevention of school violence may be found in a strong school/home partnership. Communication is the most powerful tool we can use to keep our students safe. Together, as a community, we will continue to move forward and do what is best for our students.
The following resources may help shape our discussion and provide some talking points when dealing with and preventing school violence.
"Emergency Lesson Plans" for helping children cope with an emergent crisis.
Teaching Tolerance Website
American Psychological Association: Talking with Kids About School Shootings for Parents
Child Trauma Toolkit for Educators
Responding to Traumatic Events: Learn how to help children cope with trauma
Going Back to School After a Tragedy
Nine Tips for Talking to kids about trauma
Please know that we will continue to be proactive in our prevention efforts and in keeping our buildings safe and secure. You are my eyes and ears in our community and I am always open to suggestions on how we can improve.
Please feel free to contact me at any time if you have questions or suggestions. You may reach me by phone at 616.374.8858 or at firstname.lastname@example.org.