Working to support student safety and security | Guest View

By Kristine McDuffy | Mar 08, 2018
Kristine McDuffy

The safety of our students, staff and the entire Edmonds School District family is our highest priority and duty. Our hearts ache for the families and communities impacted by the recent tragic event in Florida.

Sometimes, words cannot adequately capture the emotions that come from such a senseless act. As a result of these events, many of us wonder where does our nation go from here? Is our state doing enough? What is the status of our own district policies, procedures and practices, and how do we ensure we are doing everything we can?

While we may not be able to answer the first two questions at this time, our deep commitment and resolve to address the third question is clear. In Edmonds, we have and continue to refine several proactive measures to help support the safety and security of all students and staff. These include:

  • A district safety/emergency preparedness specialist working directly with schools to make sure that measures are in place and reviewed regularly;
  • Comprehensive safety/emergency response plans for each site;
  • Staff at each of our buildings who are trained to respond in an emergency situation;
  • Emergency drills that are conducted monthly at each of our schools to help staff and students understand how to respond in the event of an actual emergency;
  • Our school board will review a recently conducted evaluation and audit of our current safety preparedness and will recommend further actions to be taken during its March 20 work session;
  • Through partnerships with the cities of Edmonds, Lynnwood, Mountlake Terrace and the Snohomish County Sheriff’s Office, we are reintroducing school resource officers at all of our comprehensive high schools. These are available to provide support to our middle and elementary schools within their feeder patterns;
  • We have made progress on securing school entry access points by installing keyless entry hardware. We are working to complete this installation at all of our schools in the future;
  • We are making progress on the installation of school security cameras at our school sites;
  • All of our school administrators are being trained in threat assessment protocol to better identify students who are in need of support and further attention; and
  • We have implemented a new and improved safe schools alert, which allows individuals to report concerns anonymously via email, phone or text message.

While great progress is being made, we have a strong sense of urgency to ensure that everything that can be done, is being done. We look forward to providing you with continued updates on the progress we are making to ensure that our students, staff and school communities are safe.

Kristine McDuffy is superintendent of the Edmonds School District.

Editor’s note: The Edmonds Police Department will formally staff a school resource officer at Edmonds-Woodway High School effective Sept. 1, according to Police Chief Al Compaan.

In the interim, there is an agreement with the district to have Officer Tom Smith, who will be assigned full-time beginning in September, to spend time at E-W during his regular patrol shifts. This is done on a time-available basis.


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