Dr. Alfred Ray Addresses School Safety

Filed under: Duncanville ISD,Schools |

Dear Duncanville ISD Parents,

The community of Newtown, Connecticut and Sandy Hook Elementary has been in our hearts and minds since the news of the school shooting on Friday.  All those affected remain in our thoughts and prayers, especially families who have lost loved ones.

RayAlfred1We recognize that some of our parents may have questions about safety procedures at their child’s school, and the proactive measures that our district is taking to help ensure a safe environment for students and staff.  This event has been a stark reminder of the importance of school safety, and prompts us to be reflective as we review our procedures.

We’d like to take this opportunity to share some of the processes we have in place, such as the Raptor visitor screening system, the 2001 bond-funded remodeling of all school entrances that requires visitors to enter through the office, regular evacuation drills, and close working relationships with local public safety officials.  The Duncanville ISD Board of Trustees also hired National School Safety and Security Services in 2010 to conduct a comprehensive safety audit that has helped strengthen our procedures.   The CEO of this company has been interviewed by several news outlets over the past few days, and is considered the nation’s foremost authority on school safety.

The 2010 Safety Assessment included 140 individual interviews, site visits, and walk-through evaluations of all district facilities, a community forum, and a formal review of various safety documents. In their final report, National School Safety and Security Services identified 45 positive measures already in place within Duncanville ISD to promote school safety. Since that audit, we have continued to conduct regular safety reviews.

Although national safety experts have shared with the public over the past few days their belief that there is no way to guarantee that a tragedy like this will not happen in the future, we intend to continue to do all we can to keep students and staff as safe as possible while at school. Because this week may be difficult for our children, our counseling staff will be monitoring student behavior closely to ensure sensitivity to their responses to this difficult situation.

Below are some helpful tips from the National Association of School Psychologists about what parents can do at times like these:

1.  Reassure children that they are safe.

2.  Make time to talk.

3.  Keep your explanations developmentally appropriate.

4.  Review safety procedures.

5.  Observe children’s emotional state.

6.  Limit television viewing of this event.

7.  Maintain a normal routine.

A link to these tips with more detailed information is available on the district’s Safety and Security web page.  As the parent of five grown children and the grandfather of seven all under the age of seven, I assure you that my staff and I will continue to place a strong emphasis on safety in Duncanville ISD.  Thank you for entrusting us with your children, and for your partnership in preparing them for the future.

Dr. Alfred L Ray