FSSD parents and families:
Yesterday’s tragic school shooting in Parkland, Florida, has left us all with feelings of sadness, frustration and anxiety. Our hearts go out to the parents and families affected by this tragedy. With this in mind, I wanted to take a moment to make you aware of the safety measures that we have in place in all of our schools. We work from a Safety Plan that is coordinated with local law enforcement and first responders and we practice these plans by regularly holding drills in our schools.
Franklin Special School District administrators meet regularly with first responders to discuss responses to potential dangers and district personnel routinely participate in county-wide mock drills to problem-solve various safety threats with those who would typically be responding to a school emergency. Because of our collaborative approach with law enforcement and emergency responders in safety planning, these individuals have immediate electronic access to critical safety information to reference in the event of an actual school emergency. Such plans include detailed campus information, evacuation plans, and critical contact information for staff and emergency responders. Based on best practices nationwide, our school administrators, faculties and staff are trained to use many different methods to protect themselves and their students. These methods are situational and empower the staff and students to make critical decisions based on training.
For the past five years, we have been fortunate to have School Resource Officers (SRO) on our campuses every day, whose first priority is protecting the school’s occupants. These deputies are provided through the Williamson County Sheriff’s Office and are specifically trained to anticipate and recognize threats as well as to provide training and support in the event an emergency response is necessary.
As part of each school’s daily routine, all doors are locked and all visitors must enter through the front office and show valid photo identification. SROs perform daily perimeter checks and we have an extensive video-monitoring system in all of our schools.
This latest school tragedy causes all of us to reflect on what we are doing to protect your children and our faculty and staff while they are in our schools and on our campuses. We have already met this morning with county administrators and emergency responders to discuss next steps in training and response. This will be an ongoing discussion. You may rest in the knowledge that our safety response protocols are based on national standards and are coordinated with multiple agencies on a local, state, and national level. We do not operate alone. While more training is being scheduled, we feel confident in our schools’ ability to respond in an emergency situation. In the event that a true school emergency were to happen, all school communication will come to you through the normal channels of the Blackboard Connect phone and email alert system, as well as posted on district social media accounts (Twitter: @franklinspecial or facebook: /franklinSSD) and the website (www.fssd.org). Please make sure this information is up to date in your child’s school if you have changed contact information since you registered your child last spring.
Finally, the news reports coming out of Parkland understandably may cause anxiety for students and parents. It can also evoke feelings of despair, uncertainty and anger. Our school counseling staff is prepared to assist anyone who might need additional support. Please contact your child’s school if you would like to schedule some time to discuss any concerns.
David L. Snowden, Ph.D.
Director of Schools
Franklin Special School District