The recent school tragedy in Chardon, Ohio and the rash of severe weather recently in the Midwest serve to reinforce the importance of safety during the school day for the staff and students of Westfield Washington Schools. When safety situations such as these occur throughout the nation, we at WWS make it a point to take the time to review our safety plans and make sure staff and students understand their roles during a crisis situation. We also try to learn from these tragic events and make neccesary changes or adaptations to our safety plans in order to be better prepared and we review those changes in a timely manner with students and staff members. Most importantly, in the wake of the tragedy at Chardon High School, we make sure our students feel confident to report any dangerous or threatening intentions from their classmates. Our hope is that every student in our school system has an adult in the school building that they trust and can go to with any information that they feel might be a safety situation or a concern.
Safety plans are just that, only plans. Safety plans aren’t effective unless the staff and students know them inside and out and also how to adapt to various situations. As we all know, nothing can totally be simulated or practiced in drill situations. In order to help with this, we incorporate various scenarios to our drills such as practicing them during lunch and passing periods, blocking exits, etc. By doing this, our hope is that staff and students are then able to make better decisions when faced with a crisis situation.
School safety is our top priority but it is not just a staff responsibility or a student responsibility, it is a community responsibility. It takes all of us in the Westfield community to be vigilant and aware of possible threats to our schools. I recommend that all parents review with their children the safety drills that take place at their particular school. I also ask that parents and anyone else in the community that has knowledge of a safety situation or a safety concern to please contact an administrator at the school or district level.
Thanks for your help in making Westfield Washington Schools a safe and healthy environment for our students and staff members to learn and grow.