Monday, February 26, 2018

School Safety

Posted by Wayne Anderson in General  |  Post a comment

Each day I have the pleasure and the privilege to interact with the staff and students that come to the Williams Bay School District. I feel very blessed to be part of such a great school district and community – a district that wants the very best for each and every staff member and student. One of the things that we want all of our staff and students to have is a safe place to work and learn. Over the past weeks, people from around the country have been impacted by the school violence that took place in Florida. These incidents of violence have reminded us that senseless acts can occur at any time and any place. It is the goal of the staff, administration and School Board to make our schools as safe as humanly possible.

Each year, we hold numerous drills to help our staff and students learn what to do in case of an emergency – we hold fire drills, tornado drills, lock-down drills and now even drills to react to armed intruders. On Thursday, February 22, the district used the morning of its inservice day to work with members of the Williams Bay Police Department, the Williams Bay Fire Department, the Walworth County Sheriff’s Department and the Walworth County SWAT team to review our safety measures associated with an armed intruder. During this day, we discussed our current plan and then did a drill to see how well the plan worked. After the drill, we discussed the outcomes of the drill with the members of the various departments mentioned above and made some revisions. We then practiced the drill a second time with the revisions and followed up the event with more discussions. 

It is now our goal to have an armed intruder drill with the students during the month of March. Prior to this drill, we will send out notification to the parents and community so that everyone is aware of the upcoming drill. We will also take the time to talk with the students in advance to discuss how this drill is similar to other drills that we do each year that prepare us for how to react in the case of an emergency. Over the next several months, it is our intention to do a number of different scenarios so that we are better prepared if the unthinkable should ever happen in our schools.

One of the most difficult questions that I am asked as a Superintendent is, “Can you guarantee me that my children will be safe in school?” Unfortunately, this is something that is beyond my power to guarantee. Though it is our intention to make our schools as safe as possible, there is never a 100% guarantee that we can keep everyone safe all of the time. However, this does not mean that we will not continue to look at ways to make a very safe school even safer.

Over the past weekend, the Wisconsin Legislature has drafted a bill to provide financial assistance to put armed security personnel in school buildings. Many months prior to this legislative action, the Williams Bay Police Department and Williams Bay School Board had some preliminary discussions on this very topic. I am certain that on our March 10 Board of Education work session that this topic will be discussed in greater detail. Our goal as a school district is very similar to the goals of a family – how can we create the best possible environment for the members of our family to strive and grow. One of the elements of this environment is a location that is safe, not only physically – but also emotionally. School needs to be a place that everyone feels safe and accepted. We are doing everything we can to create this type of an environment for our staff and students.

As always, thank you for your support and commitment to the staff and students of our school district. By working together we can create an environment that not only helps prepare our students for a great future, but also one in which they feel safe and secure – a place that everyone feels cared for and respected.

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