December 9, 2021
Lake Community –
Happy Holidays from all of us on campus.
As cases of school violence seem to, once again, be on the rise and in the news we thought it was important to update all of you on the protocols we have in place to protect our students and staff members. WARNING - some of the information below could be disturbing but we felt it was important to address it.
This past Monday our principals and I had a conference call with Dr. Amy Klinger from The Educator's School Safety Network and a professor at Ashland University. Dr. Klinger is one of the leading experts on school safety in the country and we have worked with her for the past decade to ensure that our policies and procedures are current and whether we need to look at new and recent data to keep the safety of our students and staff our top priority. Through our work with The Educator's School Safety Network, we have empowered our staff with information and techniques to help them navigate a situation to the best of their abilities. Dangerous situations in schools (particularly school shootings) are very fluid and have many variables so we do not want our people to have a "one size fits all" approach which could potentially result in more damage.
For example -- we know that school shootings are over very quickly. They usually last 3-5 minutes and then they are over. So, with that in mind, if we have an active shooter in the high school on the second floor, we want our elementary teachers and middle school teachers IF THEY ARE SURE that the shooter is in a different building, to get the kids outside and as far away from the building as possible. We know from past incidents around the country and shared with us by The Educator's School Safety Network that a shooter is not going to leave an area to go that far to inflict more damage and we also know what kind of response time our local law officers will take to respond to the situation and student safety increases with distance from the scene. On the other hand, if a shooter is in the same hallway as a teacher's classroom, our teachers have been trained to block entry ways with whatever is available and if that barricade is breached, our people are going to throw books, materials, etc as a distraction. I believe this is common in most schools. This is known as “run, hide, fight,” from “Keeping Students Safe Every Day” (Klinger and Klinger, 2018).
We also are required to review and submit a safety plan for each of our buildings to the Ohio Department of Education every year describing our practices and procedures, we have a reunification plan in place to reunite students with their parent/guardian in the event of an emergency, we have a Lake Township Police Officer on campus every day, other officers stop in frequently and Chief Hummer and I are in regular contact about safety issues, we discuss safety in one form or another at our monthly administrative meetings, we have safety film over glass in high traffic areas to stop it from shattering and allowing easy points of entry, we have cameras throughout campus, and our staff is visible and reminded on a regular basis to build relationships with students so they will feel comfortable in sharing information that might save a tragic situation.
Safety for our students and staff is our highest priority. However, it is really important to remember that even the best of plans have no guarantees if an intruder wants to enter a building badly enough. This is why our staff, particularly our administrative staff, is out and about in our hallways and across our campus regularly and on the lookout for anything suspicious.
Finally, if you have a concern about safety, please, contact me or your child’s building principal via email or telephone and someone will return your communication within 24 hours. We want you to be comfortable sending your child to a place that is safe and conducive to learning. You can be assured that we will be as transparent as possible when addressing your concerns.