Eye on Safety
It seems almost unfathomable, in the wake of yet another deadly shooting, that our country is once again searching for answers to questions that have gone unanswered for far too long.
Who among us can’t help but think that the ceaseless plague of school shootings—and mass shootings in general—should have been stamped out, at least substantially, long ago?
After the mass shooting at Columbine High School nearly 20 years ago, something should have changed. The heartbreak after Sandy Hook six years ago should have compelled monumental changes.
Any one of the dozens of school shootings in the past two decades —and mass shootings at public gatherings—should have created unrelenting pressure to change the way this country thinks, talks and acts when it comes to guns, gun violence, mental health and the combustible mixtures of these ingredients.
Even so, there remains a substantial focus on school safety. As there should be.
From the standpoint of school administrators and staff, and students and their families, school safety remains one of the central issues when it comes to mass shootings and other acts of unpredictable violence.
Time after time, incident after incident, death after death, we reel in the wake of news footage of another school shooting, and we ask ourselves: How could this happen? How can we keep this from happening again?
Without question, there is a tremendous need for candid discussion about America’s gun laws. That is an essential component in this discussion.
But the discussion cannot end there.
Violence exists, in many forms. Threats exist, in many forms. And the fact is, no structure on earth is impervious to harm. It is the horrible, unavoidable truth.
The absolute best that each one of us can do, every day, is take every conceivable step to ensure we have made the safety of our students and staff paramount.
This should force us to ask tough questions, frequently.
That’s not a bad thing. We do it at Elyria Schools all the time.
We’ve been doing it with renewed vigor in the weeks following the school shooting at Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School in Parkland, Florida. School districts across the country are doing it right now—taking a hard, scrupulous look at their school safety plans.
At Elyria Schools, one of our greatest assets is our partnership with the Elyria Police Department. We work hand-in-glove with school resource officers, police administrators and uniformed officers. The value of this relationship cannot be overstated.
Our district’s leaders review and update our school safety plans and take measures to improve our processes and staff and student training, increasing our readiness for all manner of emergencies.
With Elyria Schools constructing all-new buildings district-wide thanks to the voter-approved bond issue, students and staff will soon be housed in state-of-the-art facilities outfitted with unique features aimed at bolstering security.
As one of Ohio’s 21 urban schools districts, Elyria Schools is uniquely diverse—socioeconomically, racially and culturally. This diversity is, without question, one of our greatest assets.
Our staff and our students are well attuned to the security needs of daily life within our school buildings. Procedures and protocols are developed, re-developed and re-visited frequently.
Consequently, we have developed substantial resources and partnerships to guide our actions and to respond to situations as they arise.
But the fact remains a school district is a part of the community. This means the stakeholder is every single person reading this. And the person next to them. And the person next to that person.
We talk a lot about situational awareness in today’s world. What this requires from all of us is an astute awareness and appreciation for the lives of everyone in our community, especially our children.
On that note, we lean on a common phrase when it comes to matters of school safety and awareness about potential emergencies or threats to self or others: “See it, say it.”
If you see something that you believe is a threat—on social media, in your neighborhood, in your school, at work, in your day to day activities—immediately report it to police or school administrators.
No question about it: You play a pivotal role in school safety.
Thank you for your support of our children, our community, and of the Elyria Schools.