Message from Janna Stevens

Message from Janna Stevens

February 23, 2018

Dear Spartan Community,

I’m sure we are all experiencing a similar sense of sadness, frustration, anger, and fear following the recent tragedy in Parkland, Florida and our own recent experience with an unsubstantiated threat.  As a parent myself, I know that when you send your children off to school in the morning, you are entrusting us with your greatest treasures. Please be assured that your child’s safety is our number one priority. Here are some of the supports we have in place in the Superior School District to keep your children safe:

  • Police Liaison Officers: The Superior Police Department has stationed three full-time police liaison officers with our District who are trained to work proactively with students and staff. Patrol officers also visit our schools as time allows to build relationships with students and staff.
  • School entrances: All doors are locked after students enter in the morning, and access until the end of the day is by key card or office “buzz-in” only. In addition, all our schools have been or are in the process of being updated to a dual-entry system, where visitors must be buzzed in.
  • Emergency Response Plans: These plans, which contain response procedures for a variety of emergencies including active shooter events, are posted in every classroom and office and are reviewed and updated annually.
  • ALICE (Alert, Lockdown, Inform, Counter, Evacuate) training and drills: All teachers and administrators have been trained on strategies and procedures in case of an armed intruder. In 2018, this training was expanded to support staff and substitute teachers.
  • CPR and First Aid: Designated staff in each building are trained in life-saving techniques, which now include training on how to control blood loss in active shooter scenarios.
  • School guidance counselors and psychologists: Trained staff are available in each building to support students in need.
  • Surveillance: Cameras are located in strategic positions inside and outside our buildings.
  • See Something, Say Something campaign: Brightly colored posters in our buildings encourage students and staff to be alert and come forward with any information.
  • Human Development Center & Lake Superior Community Health Center: The District contracts with these partners to provide additional mental health supports for students in need.
  • Northwest Journey: provides mental and behavioral support in its day treatment program at our Northern Lights Elementary School.

In addition, we regularly evaluate and update our procedures and supports in collaboration with the Superior Police Department.

We are aware that in response to these tragedies, students at our schools may choose to protest or stage a walkout similar to those happening at schools across the country. As a District, we will neither encourage nor discourage student walkouts, nor will we prevent students from participating or discipline them if they do. School staff will provide supervision at any walkouts so that they are carried out in an organized and safe fashion, but will not interfere unless it is necessary to ensure student safety.

 

Finally, families have been asking what they can do at home to support their children in the wake of such events. Please consider using this letter at home to start a conversation with your children. In addition, the following resources may be helpful:

 

                Helping Children Cope With Tragedy

                Talking to Children about Violence: Tips for Parents and Teachers

                NY Times: Resources for Talking and Teaching About the School Shooting in Florida

                NBC News: What mental health experts say to their kids about school shootings

Sincerely,

Janna Stevens

District Administrator

Superior School District