If it Makes You Wonder, Call the Number!
From the Superintendent's Standpoing
By Travis Miller
If it Makes You Wonder, Call the Number!
Over the past few days we have been shocked and saddened by the tragic loss of the lives of young people and school workers in our country. As with so many tragedies, these recent events have impacted each of us, regardless of our political beliefs, religious convictions, gender, or age. In particular, parents with young children have been struggling to make sense of these events. As a parent with children the same ages as many who were killed, I have been saddened both by the news of the losses of the families in Connecticut, but also by the thought of how I would feel were I walking in the shoes of those parents who lost their children. As a parent, and as a school administrator, I keep thinking about whether we are doing enough to protect our children from the hazards of our modern and troubled world.
There is no “perfect” or “fail-proof” system to prevent every possible kind of situation that might lead to accident or injury for our students. There is also no perfect system to prevent those who would harm others from doing so. However, our schools and other organizations can strive to do the best they can to try to ensure that our students, employees, and visitors are as safe as possible.
Our school has taken many steps to try to ensure, to the best of our ability, that our students are educated in a safe, secure, and comfortable environment. Some examples of recent community and school efforts to try to keep our students safe include:
• Implementation of the School Resource Officer partnership between the City of Bayad and the Bayard Public Schools
• Implementation of restricted access to the buildings through the use of a “buzzer” system
• Replacement/Removal of aging/broken playground equipment
• Installation of an upgraded fire alarm system in the secondary school
• Revised tornado shelter procedures
• Partnership with one of our local churches for emergency evacuations
• Partnership with Safetyline (safety consultants) to review safety procedures and plans
• Partnership with the Bayard Police Department to coordinate responses to emergencies
• Partnership with the Bayard Police Department and area law enforcement agencies, including “Active Shooter” training by law enforcement in our school buildings during the past year
• Working with our students to ensure compliance with the stop sign arms on school buses to increase the safety of our students who ride the school buses
• Installation of surveillance cameras in the elementary school
The school district has plans and procedures in place to deal with a variety of potential dangers, whether those dangers are natural disasters, accidents, or intentional actions taken by individuals. Prior to the recent tragedies, the school district’s safety committee had commenced a process for review and revision of these procedures based upon feedback from a staff survey last spring. Information on best practices that has been learned from recent events will be incorporated in the ongoing revision of the district’s procedures and plans. This revision process will include input and expertise from law enforcement personnel, the school’s safety committee, and professional safety consultants.
It is important for our patrons to know that all school districts are required by state statute to have a safety committee which meets at least four times each year. All school districts are also required to have an annual safety visit. In addition to these measures, our school also receives a “loss prevention” safety consultation through our district’s insurance company. The information received from each safety visit is shared with the safety committee and plans are made to respond to the recommendations of committee members and our expert safety visitors.
In addition to the recommendations made in these formal channels, there are also many opportunities to increase student safety when members of our staff or the public recognize an area for improvement. Examples of recent efforts to improve safety as a result of community observations include efforts to reduce ice from the roof drainage systems and a review of the lighting around the school buildings during football games. If community members have ideas about safety improvements, patrons are invited to call me at the school to discuss concerns and ideas for improving the safety of our students.
Another important resource for the community is the Nebraska Crime Stoppers phone number for reporting suspicious behavior. This number is 1-800-422-1494, and is for reporting non-emergency reports of suspicious activity. It takes a village to raise a child, and any member of the community can make a tremendous difference in keeping us all safe by making a report. The general rule for this reporting hotline is, “If it makes you wonder, call the number.” Of course during an emergency situation community members are encouraged to dial 911.
As always, if you would like to share success stories about Bayard Public Schools or if you have ideas about how we can work together to make our school even better, please call the school or send me an email.