Wednesday, January 2, 2013

Safety Committee review . . .

Our Safety Committee met this afternoon to begin the review and evaluation of our current intruder/lock down plans and procedures.  Following the Sandy Hook tragedy we made the decision to expand the committee to include the building principals for this review so we had over twenty people attending.  Thanks to Sean Kelly the meeting also included Maple Valley Mayor Bill Allison, Maple Valley Police Chief Michelle Bennett, King County Sheriff John Urquhart, Officer Sam Shirley, Fire Chief Brad Doerflinger, and Jacques Imperial representing U.S. Representative Dave Reichert's office.

We tasked the representatives with the responsibility to review the current practices in every building and department in the system to identify our current reality.  This includes training, policies and procedures related to before, during and after an incident, coordination with other agencies before and during an incident, and communication throughout the process.  This information will be the foundation for conversations in our school community about other measures that we should consider as we identify what "safe" looks and sounds like in our schools and buildings.

The conversation this afternoon was productive, resulting in a better understanding of the questions and concerns of our parents, concerns of staff with problems already identified in our buildings, and some possibilities to pursue for an increased presence by city and county officers in our schools.  It is a good beginning to a necessary process as we struggle to balance access and safety issues with the welcoming cultures that we have come to expect in our schools.


Bad Karma said...

What chance was there for comments or questions from the parents of the children?

Ellagazer said...

I love that our school district and community strive to make our schools as safe as they can be. When does the newly formed committee look at the size of the schools as a safety precaution? When I hear that Tahoma, which exceeds expectations in state testing standards and desirable community traits, I wonder... why can't they pass bonds/levies to help them make the best learning environments for their students? Is it really considered "safe" to have over 1,000 kids at one location with only one administrator and two separate buildings? I know the campus that I think of. The staff there are good at asking visitors in the hallways if they have checked in with the office. The staff and administrator are easily identified by wearing badges. But is this enough? The campus is sprawling and the number of daily inhabitants increases.
The Tahoma District is wonderful in that it concerns itself with the students' academics as well as their health and safety wellbeing. I certainly hope that the community will be supportive of the district when they ask to continue or enhance the safety of the students.