An email to parents from the Superintendent:
As details of the tragedy in Newtown, Connecticut continue to be released, people across the country and in District 155 remain shocked by this senseless act of violence. The thoughts of District 155 teachers, staff, and administrators go out to all of those affected by Friday’s events.
In the wake of the tragedy, it is natural for District 155 parents to ask what we are doing to ensure the safety of our students locally. Your children come to our schools each day and you expect that they will return safely after the final bell. We are committed to ensuring this safe return, and we make safety the number one priority each day.
To that end, District 155 has many programs in place to create a secure environment in which your child may learn and thrive. The district has partnerships with local law enforcement agencies that provide the backbone for our students’ safety.
All four high schools have a school resource officer, a member of the Crystal Lake or Cary Police Department who has specialized training to work in a school. In partnership with this officer, we craft and maintain crisis plans, carry out drills and simulations, investigate rumors and threats, and maintain order throughout the school. Each school has a building-specific crisis plan and these are updated and practiced by staff in cooperation with first-responders.
In addition to partnerships with local police, the district has taken several preventative steps. This includes deterrents like
- our guest check-in system
- controlled points of entry
- the use of keyless access
- video surveillance
- the wearing of visible staff IDs
- security guards at each building, and of course,
- our visible and vigilant staff
The district also engaged an independent analyst to conduct a security audit of our facilities. Further, I have met with area superintendents to coordinate our crisis plans.
Please remember that you and your student can play an important role in school safety. We ask that you comply with the sign-in and ID procedures when you visit the high schools. We encourage you to speak with your child about how he/she can help keep the building safe by reporting visitors who do not have a badge, ensuring that exterior doors close behind them when they exit or enter the building, and informing teachers or administrators about safety concerns that they may have.
Lastly, please be aware that District 155 employs an automated calling system to alert parents should a crisis arise. This is the same system that we use for school closing due to weather. For non-urgent situations like a snow day, the system uses the primary phone number and email address listed in your Skyward Family Access account.
For urgent, crisis situations like a code red lockdown, the system will call and email all parent numbers and addresses listed in your account. Please ensure that this information is current in your Family Access profile. A video tutorial including instructions how to update this information is on the District 155 YouTube page.
Please know that we take all threats and rumors seriously, and we thoroughly investigate each instance with our partners at the police department. Together, we take appropriate action to punish those imposing the threat. Should a threat be deemed viable by community law enforcement agencies, we will contact you.
If you have any questions or concerns, please direct them to me or a member of your school’s administrative team.
Finally, I wish you and your family happy holidays. I hope you are able to use winter break to spend time with your children and other loved ones. We look forward to seeing your student when school reopens on January 7, 2013.
Dr. Johnnie Thomas