As we open the second half of the 2018-2019 school year, I want to reassure you that school safety and security remains District 7’s highest priority. We take this responsibility seriously and continue to actively review and improve security measures to ensure, to the greatest extent possible, the safety of all students, employees, and visitors in our schools.
During the current school year, District 7 has taken significant steps to improve school safety and security through the following initiatives:
- Expanded the School Safety Officer (SSO) program to include daily coverage from 6:00 a.m. – 6:30 p.m. at nine elementary schools in order to address SSO coverage of Kid Zone, the District’s before and after school child care program
- Provided intensive armed intruder training to nearly 500 certified staff members using the national 4 E’s program
- Conducted an analysis of all classroom door locking mechanisms with recommendations for additional safety measures to be installed by the summer of 2019
- Increased the number of certified school social workers and school psychologists to assist in addressing student social and emotional wellness issues
- Upgraded video surveillance systems on all school buses
In addition, the District will provide 4 E’s training to another 400 non-certified employees before the end of the school year.
Strong and active partnerships with the Edwardsville Police Department, the Glen Carbon Police Department and the Madison County Sheriff’s Office provide the foundation for all aspects of the District’s emergency response plans. We are fortunate to have the highest commitment possible from these law enforcement agencies, not only in the development of security plans, but also in the response and support needed in situations that pose possible threats to our students and staff. This support includes regular inspections of schools and regular practice drills of all types of emergency situations.
We continue to ask that students tell a trusted adult if they see a concerning post on social media or receive an intimidating message, understand that cyber-bullying will not be tolerated and that hurtful comments can have serious consequences when directed toward a classmate and understand that participation in posting or sharing a threat to school safety will be taken very seriously by both the school district and local law enforcement agencies.
I ask you to share your expectations for responsible use of social media, including text messaging, with your child. Young children often have access to these powerful communication tools and may not understand yet the long-term legal and school consequences of posting or sharing threats and inappropriate photos.
Working together can be our best strategy toward ensuring the maintenance of a safe, secure and orderly learning environment for our 7,500 students in District 7. Thank you in advance for your support.
I wish you and your family a safe and healthy start to 2019!
Dr. Lynda C. Andre