Let’s Talk About School Safety– Dr. Richard Faidley, Superintendent
The safety and security of our students is of paramount importance to the Wilson School District. Administrators, teachers and support staff accept this challenge and appreciate the trust that you, as the families we service, bestow upon the district. This trust is not taken lightly.
With the highly publicized national conversation about school safety, I thought it was important to again address the steps that Wilson has in place to provide an environment where our students can achieve their maximum potential without the fear of violence.
While we can’t promise that an incident similar to what happened in Parkland, Florida will never happen here at Wilson, we do want parents to know that mass shooting incidents at schools are incredibly rare. There are approximately 100,000 public schools in the United States, with about 50 million students. The odds of any child being injured or killed in any type of school shooting are less than one in one million.
However, because of the amount of fear that these attacks generate and the devastating effects they have on a school and a community, we have invested a great deal of funding, time and effort into the planning, prevention, protection, and training for these events.
I want to let the community know that we are doing everything in our power to make our schools safe. We want to make sure that anyone with bad intentions knows that Wilson is not a good place to succeed in a violent attack. At the same time, we also want to be mindful of not revealing too many details relating to our security measures. Our efforts are focused on enhanced presence and increased awareness, specialized training as well as proactive policies and procedures as outlined in our district-wide All Hazards Plan.
Our protective efforts include having a full-time officer as a dedicated School Resource Officer. We also have an excellent relationship with our local police departments, who regularly patrol and maintain a presence at our school buildings. This approach serves multiple purposes by deterring any individual with malicious intent; familiarizing officers with the internal layout of our schools; as well as letting our students regularly see our officers and be more comfortable with their presence at any time.
Specialized Training and Drills
We will be placing a strong emphasis on ensuring that ALL Wilson School District staff members participate in ALICE (Alert, Lockdown, Inform, Counter, Evacuate) Training. This training provides preparation for school districts to proactively handle the threat of an aggressive intruder or active shooter event. In recent years, ALICE Training option-based tactics have become the accepted response, versus the traditional “lockdown only” approach.
For a number of years, we have been regularly conducting Lockdown Drills in all of our schools. We are looking to increase the number of these drills to ensure all students and staff have the tools they need in the event of a crisis.
We will also be working with area first responders to conduct tabletop exercises so they are as prepared as possible in the event that they would be called upon to assist in any major incident.
In the event of an emergency, it is our goal to communicate information to parents and guardians as soon as it is available. The primary method will be through a Skylert call. Because of this, it is important that contact information be updated in our Skyward system. If you are unsure of how to access your Skyward account, please contact your child’s building office. In addition, emergency updates will be posted on our district website www.wilsonsd.org. Please note, if you are notified of an emergency at your child’s school, do not go to the school unless the notification instructs you to do so. If you go to the school when not instructed to, you may put your child, yourself, or others at risk.
Our students, staff and community members play a vital role in helping us maintain a safe school environment. In order to keep our schools secure, it is necessary for students and parents to be aware of, and to take seriously, any potential threats. Please talk to your child and remind him or her to come to a teacher or an administrator with any concerns regarding the safety of our schools.
Our Administrative Team, Board of School Directors and Staff will continue to review and strengthen the security measures and procedures currently in place. We greatly appreciate your continued support, as we work together to provide a safe environment for the Wilson School District.