A letter from Dr. Smyser about safety and support in PSD

Dear PSD families,

My heart breaks every time I hear news of a tragic event at a school.

After the school shooting in Florida you may be wondering what safety precautions are in place in PSD. Please know, we are dedicated to keeping children safe with comprehensive safety measures.

However, we also rely on help from you, our community, parents, students and staff, to assist in these efforts.

My request to you: If you see something, say something.

This applies to parents, students, staff and community members. Being aware of what is going on in our community, with our students and on social media, is the best way we can help prevent a situation from escalating into violence at school. Anyone can report suspicious behavior or rumors through the SAFE2TELL hotline (1-877-542-7233) or call a school administrator with concerns.

I understand you may be concerned about the safety of your student at school. We take this responsibility very seriously. We have several safety measures in place including a single point of entry for each school, individual locks on classroom doors as well as routine lockdown and lockout drills. We also train students and staff to follow established safety procedures and specific protocols to address threats. For example, if a student is removed from school for safety reasons, we create and implement a safety plan. These plans are unique to each situation and can range from increased supervision to management of what a student has in their personal possession at any time.

Additionally, PSD has a solid partnership with local law enforcement and I am very thankful for School Resource Officers who are in our buildings and have relationships with students.

As the story of what happened in Florida continues to unfold, PSD is ready to support students with concerns or fears that may be triggered by this horrific event. If you are concerned about your student, please have him/her visit with their school counselor or teacher. PSD has trained mental health professionals on staff and can also refer students to community resources for emotional support.

Our mental health experts encourage you to consider minimizing student access to media reports about the shooting as these reports can raise anxiety. Attached are additional tips for parents regarding how to discuss violent incidents with children.

I am thankful that PSD is part of a caring community committed to working together to keep our children safe.

Our deepest condolences go out to the families in Parkland, FL



Sandra Smyser, Ph.D.