Superintendent's message to community following Florida school shooting

Superintendent's message to community following Florida school shooting
Posted on 02/16/2018
Mike McCormickDear Val Verde Community,

My thoughts and prayers of comfort and healing are with the victims and their families, as well as the staff and educators from Parkland, Florida.

This tragedy highlights the critical importance of ensuring that our schools remain safe places for our students and staff. In the aftermath of this traumatic event, the National Association of School Psychologists notes there are effective ways to talk with students: 

• create a sense of safety by returning to normal, predictable routines as soon as possible

• listen to their concerns and feelings

• suggest they limit their use of media to lower their stress and to maintain balance and perspective, and

• realize that sleep difficulties are common and can lead to fatigue and poor participation.

When these events occur, it is important that we review our own policies and procedures and ensure that we are as ready as possible in the event that a similar incident occurs in our schools.  As a district, we have several programs in place to help minimize threats on our campuses:

Locked Doors - Per district policy, all doors must be locked during the school day for the protection of the students and staff.

Raptor - This system is in place as a lobby management system at all of our school sites.  All visitors must present ID and be scanned through the Raptor system.  This system will recognize individuals who are on the public sex offender database and warn us of their status.

Safe School Plans - as an Education Code requirement under 32280-32289 these plans are approved annually for all sites.  All School Safe Plans are reviewed by local law enforcement prior to approval.  In addition, included in each school's comprehensive School Safety Plan are any school-developed strategies and safe corridor maps for safe ingress and egress of pupils, parents, and school employees.  These plans are available at the front desk for parents or staff to review at any time.

Hour Zero - Hour Zero is an additional component attached to all school sites Safe School Plans.  It supplies training to staff and an overview of the Incident Command Structure and implementation.  It also creates staging areas and buddy groups to help assist during critical incidents.

Active Shooter and Blood Trauma Care Training - Chief of Police, Mark Clark, conducts an ongoing Active Shooter and Blood Trauma Care training with all Val Verde Unified School District staff and at all sites.

Safety is always a number one priority at Val Verde Unified School District.  As always we remind you, if you see something, say something.

If you or your student has any concerns or questions about their safety on campus, please contact your site administrator.  

Thank you,

Michael R. McCormick