By now you have likely heard about the devastating mass shooting in Uvalde Texas. Our hearts go out to these students, families, school staff, and the community. Like many of you, we worry about the frequency of these events across our country, and understand the anxiety that many of our students, staff and families may be experiencing.
Please know that the safety of our students, staff and faculty is our number one priority in the Haverhill Public Schools. Counselors, social workers and psychologists are available in our schools to provide support to students, staff and parents/guardians. Do not hesitate to reach out to any member of our school community including our administrative team if we can help support you in any way.
We also want to assure you that we are constantly updating our procedures and responses as local law enforcement officials learn more about responses to these types of situations. Specifically, we wanted to take this opportunity to share just a few of our procedures with you.
- All entrances and doorways to all of our schools are locked at all times
- All visitors to the schools are only admitted through the main office. We have intercom systems and security cameras at each entrance that allow office staff to verbally and visually screen any visitors to the school prior to admitting them into the buildings.
- Administrators at each of our schools regularly review emergency procedures and precautions with their staff. In response to recent events HPD is planning to have an increased presence at our schools this week and will drive through and monitor buildings and grounds periodically throughout the day. They will continue to monitor any potential threats. We collaborate closely with police, and they run drills in our schools during school and off school hours.
During the 2017-18 school year, our district implemented the ALICE Protocol as a response to any potential armed intruder. ALICE is designed to provide comprehensive preparedness in the event of an intruder in one of our schools. The goal is to utilize infrastructure, technology, and human action to increase overall student and staff safety. Our staff receive annual training in this protocol and we supplement this training with periodic drills and scenarios to further increase our preparedness. Each of our schools has developed a building emergency preparedness plan. These plans were created in coordination with local police, fire and emergency management departments, and their extensive training and guidance has been at the forefront of our plans.
Given our students’ exposure to technology, many of them have likely seen information about the tragedy in Uvalde, so this will no doubt be top-of-mind discussion among families throughout the nation for days to come. Our staff and counselors will be available for students in school as needed and we have provided you with links to a resource below that might support you as you process this event with your child(ren). Please reach out to one of your child’s counselors if you feel your child needs specific support in processing this incident.
National Association of School Psychologists: Talking to Children About Violence: Tips for Parents and Teachers
Printable, translated formats are below:
- English Version
- Spanish Version
- Korean Version
- Vietnamese Version
- French Version
- Amharic Version
- Chinese Version
- Portuguese Version
- Somali Version
- Arabic Version
- Kurdish Version
As an added level of reassurance, we will have an increased presence at our schools this week — giving high-fives and check-ins. Our police partners and principals work together every day to get to know and support our students.
We hope that you will help us in reassuring your children that we have many safety protocols in place. Our staff will continue to work closely with our students and families when they are experiencing difficult situations, and we always encourage all members of our community to speak up when they have a concern. Please be assured that emergency preparedness continues to be a top priority across our district and each of our schools.
The Haverhill Public School Leadership Team