March 1, 2018
River View Local School District,
As we all know, the events that took place earlier this month down in Florida have rightfully shook this nation and reignited all of our greatest fears with regards to school safety. As educators, parents, and just human beings, we all struggle to fathom why such unexplainable actions can be carried out against children. The emotions we all now share are those of fear, sadness, grief, confusion, frustration and even anger. The understandable combination of these emotions at such heightened levels leads us all to react and cope in different ways. As a school district, amidst all of the debate, speculation, opinion, and efforts to improve our society, we need to remain focused on our number one goal in this matter. This is the safety and welfare of all our students and staff in the River View Local School District.
We will continue to take steps to provide a safe and secure learning environment for all of our students. These steps include the implementation and practices associated with the ALICE (Alert, Lockdown, Inform, Counter, Evacuate) method of response. Classrooms are all equipped with ALICE buckets filled with supplies needed for this response. Each school is required to practice these drills on a regular basis. Each school in our district has trained trauma teams responsible to react and administer assistance in situations where injuries occur from any number of situations. Our schools are equipped with trauma kits and other forms of medical equipment for emergencies. We have individual safety plans for each building that are updated and submitted to the state regularly. Within the last few years, we have placed modern surveillance equipment in and throughout the district and will continue to update and add to this equipment. This surveillance equipment can be accessed by our local and state law enforcement as well as them having access to all of our building plans and layouts. Finally, as our public was made aware over a year ago, we do have some armed staff within our buildings. This was a decision that was not made lightly. We spent several months in conversation, planning, and training with our local law enforcement and specialized agencies in preparation for this initiative. These individuals are required as part of this program to continually train with law enforcement on a regular basis for the sole purpose of reacting to an armed intruder or active shooter. All of their qualifications and certifications must be maintained by and through law enforcement just as our local deputies and police services.
While all of these measures are being taken currently, we still continue to look at ways to improve and create even safer environments. We are and will continue to advocate for funding to secure school resource officers. Our sheriff’s department has reached out to each building to make efforts to increase their presence on campuses. We will continue to work closely with all state and county agencies to provide services needed for dealing with mental and emotional help. Our role as a local school district is to not enter and participate in political debates and reactionary discussions, but rather to provide our students with the safest, most nurturing, caring, and educational environment that we can.
In conclusion, we will continue to take measures to prevent harm to our staff and students, but the greatest thing we can all do as a local community is to build relationships with each other and especially our children. We have to know our students. We have to know their parents. We all have to communicate with each other when things do not seem right or help is needed. We have to trust one another and believe that we can help each other when helping our children. Being parents today is a very difficult task just like being a teacher or an educator. Kids are exposed to more things and are faced with greater challenges and stresses than they were when we were children. The greatest plan we can put into River View Local School District to ensure safety involves building relationships, trust, respect, understanding, and total effort by and between all of us.
As a former teacher, current school superintendent, and proud parent of students in the RVLSD, I want to thank this community and staff in advance for your assistance in this most important mission for our kids. I ask for your continued prayers, support, and willingness to work together to keep our children safe.
Mr. Dalton Summers