COLUMNIST: Schools must take safety precautions

BY MATT SCHOEN

Superintendent of Schools,

Delano Public Schools

As you all are aware, a tragedy occurred at Sandy Hook Elementary School in Newtown, Conn., on Friday, Dec. 14. I would like to take this opportunity to share with you some of the emergency procedures that we have in place at Delano Public Schools.

First and foremost, we have established an incredible working relationship with our local law enforcement agencies over the years, to maintain the highest level of security in our schools. We have partnered with Wright County and the city of Delano to have a school resource officer in our schools throughout the school year. This school resource officer is a Wright County Sheriff’s Deputy who facilitates many tasks in working to maintain a safe environment in all our schools. I have worked in two other public school districts as an administrator. The working relationship between law enforcement agencies and schools is completely essential and necessary.

Wright County facilitates safe school meetings six times a year at Delano Public Schools. The Wright County Sheriff attends these meetings, along with the Wright County Attorney, West Hennepin Public Safety, Wright County Human Services, Wright County Public Health, all of the district and building administrators including social workers, and a multitude of other county and city agencies. You can see by the list of attendees at these meetings that we have an opportunity for a number of agencies to network and discuss safety issues in our schools. It is my firm belief that we have established an excellent working relationship with a multitude of agencies to provide the safest environment we possibly can for our students, staff and visiting community members.

With that said, we will continue to discuss and take appropriate steps when necessary to improve our procedures to maintain a safe learning environment for students and adults alike. Unfortunately, with such a tragedy that occurred in Connecticut in mid December, we are reminded that we must be diligent in discussing safety procedures.

Our staff has and will continue to go through necessary training and workshops to be educated on proper facilitation of emergency procedures. We will continue as a school district to facilitate a multitude of emergency drills and will continue to practice safe procedures for our students and staff. These drills include but are not limited to lock down drills, fire drills, and emergency weather preparedness. These drills occur throughout the school year to keep our students and staff prepared for any type of an emergency event. We will continue to work with our law enforcement agencies to facilitate the best research-based practices in our safety procedures.

Our thoughts go out to the victims and their families in the Newtown, Conn. community. Due to these types of events, schools have had to take serious precautionary steps in maintaining a safe environment for all in our educational community.

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