Anticipating that students and parents may have questions and concerns of security at Douglas Unified School District schools, after the mass shooting at Sandy Hook Elementary School in Newtown, Conn., Superintendent Sheila Rogers posted a message on the district website last week.
Each school has a school safety plan in place, which DUSD Security Director, Luis Greer over sees. The schools have extensive and thorough crisis response plans that address a full-range of emergency situations. Every school regularly conducts drills to be prepared for a crisis.
“There is no foolproof method to prevent incidents like the one that occurred in Connecticut, but we believe that we have good plans in place,” Rogers said. “We will continue to monitor and adjust our plans over the next few months.”
DUSD works with Douglas Police Department and other local law enforcement agencies to ensure the safety of all DUSD students.
In November of this year, DPD personnel participated in an “Active Shooter” incident course along with Cochise County Sheriff’s Department personnel.
The training allowed officers to work closely in responding to an active shooter at any school, assessing the incident and containing the shooter or suspects.
Once the police arrive at the scene they are in control of the situation. Parents are asked to be patient until they release the students.
The district has a system in place called the “Parent Link.” This system will notify parents of any incidents at their child’s school.
Rogers also addressed ways to help children cope with such tragedies.
§ Maintain your composure. Children model behavior and may look to you for cues on how to react.
§ Reassure your children that they are safe.
§ Maintain normal routines. Children need a sense of stability.
§ Talk about the tragedy in an age-appropriate manner.
§ Be patient. It’s common for children to repeatedly ask the same questions about death.
§ Help children to express their feelings. If they don’t know the words to say how they feel inside, try to help them put their feelings into words and/or use creative ways of communicating, such as through art, writing, or music.
§ Listen. Ask questions.
§ Make yourself available. Your children may need extra time and attention from you.
Rogers add, “We believe that parents are an extremely important part of the safety solution. Clear and open communication, at home and at school, is crucial to creating a healthy emotional environment.”
Both Rogers and Greer ask for parents to notify their child’s school of any contact information changes.
For any additional help or information or if your child is aware of any unusual, please call the DPD or your child’s school.