A Letter from Linda N. Reid About the Connecticut Shooting and the Safety Procedures in Place at SEL Schools
Dear Parents, Guardians and Members of the SE-L Community,
The tragic events of this past Friday at Sandy Hook Elementary School in Newtown, Connecticut have undoubtedly and unfortunately impacted the lives of so many people across this country, and I am certain that this tragedy has affected the families in our community as well. Collectively, our thoughts, prayers and sympathies are extended to the families in and around Newtown, Connecticut as they grieve the events which have unfolded. Internally, the SE-L Schools communicate with you today so that you are aware of the protocols and procedures our district has in place.
In response to the tragedy at Sandy Hook Elementary in Connecticut, I want to remind you that the safety and security of our children and staff is one of our top priorities.
The South Euclid-Lyndhurst School District has been very active in enhancing and increasing the security and safety of our students and staff. These measures include:
- We have a safety plan in place, which is reviewed regularly with our police and fire departments. This plan was extensively reviewed last year with our police and fire departments before the Board approved the plan in June.
- Each month, we hold Security Meetings with our police and fire departments to discuss any potential security topics in order to be as proactive as possible.
- Our schools conduct regular lockdown and fire drills, which have already been held and will continue.
- Safety plan and preparedness trainings are held with our staff periodically and additional trainings are planned in the future.
- Principals have reviewed with their staff their relevant safety procedures.
- Our Security Staff has regularly scheduled trainings with various experts, including the Lyndhurst and South Euclid Police/Fire Departments.
- ALL exterior doors at our schools are locked. Buzzer systems with video cameras are in place at the main entrance at all schools.
- A district-wide phone system, which includes phones in all classrooms, allows staff to notify the main office of emergency situations.
- Shelter-in-Place supplies are available for all schools.
- Emergency/Crisis kits are available for all schools.
- A communication system is in place and the information provided during a time of crisis will be determined by the police.
Thanks to two recent COPS Secure Our Schools grants, we have indoor and outdoor security camera coverage of all school buildings with extensive surveillance capabilities at all schools. This grant was provided to districts who demonstrate collaboration between the police/fire departments and the schools.
We are continuously reviewing our safety plan with local safety officials to ensure the safety and security of our students and staff. Upcoming plans of action include our Supervisor of Security conducting random security checks on all of our buildings, monthly security meetings with our principals to review individual safety plans and additional training needs, monthly security meetings with our police and fire departments and scheduled tabletop discussions with the police departments to further discuss appropriate responses to simulated emergency situations.
We want our parents and public to know that we are proactive. Please know that it is our goal to create a safe, supportive school climate that provides school-wide behavioral expectations, positive interventions and supports, psychological and counseling services, and violence prevention programs. Please encourage your child to take responsibility for their part in maintaining a safe school environment by reporting potential problems to school officials and resisting peer pressure to act irresponsibly. Please also remember that we always welcome your comments, concerns or any information that might be helpful. In addition, we have an anonymous tip line to report unsafe, at-risk situations, Safe School Hotline, which can be reached at 1-800-4-1-VOICE (1-800-418-6423) ext. 359.
Below we have provided some suggestions regarding how to talk to your child about school violence and the recent tragedy. Please keep the Sandy Hook Elementary students, family and staff members in your thoughts and prayers.
Linda N. Reid, Superintendent
Suggestions for How to Talk to Your Child About School Violence
The crisis at Sandy Hook Elementary in Connecticut is so difficult to imagine and to process for adults, but it can be even more confusing to children. As their parents, we know you want to be the one to filter information to them based on their age and their developmental level. You know your child best.
Many children may be asking their teachers and other children for answers. We will tell those children to discuss the situation at home instead of in the classroom. This will allow you, as parents, to determine the information your child receives.
In crisis situations, it is best to answer children as honestly as possible without scaring them or giving them unnecessary details. When speaking to your child, it is important to give them basic information and then bring it back to them and their safety. If you talk to your child and feel they are having a difficult time dealing with the situation, you may want to contact one of our school counselors, who can help you or can speak to your child at school. It is very difficult for any of us to understand why these terrible things happen. Please let us know if we can do anything to support you and your family.
Links are provided below to address how you can help your child deal with the possible stress they may be feeling as a result of the Connecticut shooting.
Helping your child manage stress in the aftermath of a school shooting
Managing distress for parents in the aftermath of a school shooting