February 15, 2018
Dear Elk Grove Unified Families and Staff,
The tragic event that unfolded yesterday in Parkland, Florida was gut wrenching and horrific. Our hearts and prayers go out to all the families and staff of Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School during this turbulent and terrible time. As their community begins the healing process, please be assured that we are working diligently to make certain that our schools remain secure and your students are safe. The safety of all our students and staff is our top priority and I would like to share with you the steps we take to keep our schools safe.
In the event of a mass casualty incident, such as the one yesterday in Florida, it is our standard practice to quickly rally our Safety and Security team and site and District administrative teams to review site safety plans and protocols. Elk Grove Unified has safety and security protocols in place to annually review and drill earthquake, fire and mass-casualty emergency plans. The District also recently started providing mass casualty training to school staff in conjunction with the Sacramento County Sheriff’s Department. Incident Management protocols and procedures also are in place including regular reviews of perimeter maintenance and entrance/exit protocols.
After Sandy Hook, Elk Grove Unified heavily invested to protect students on campus with a secured perimeter for every elementary, middle and high school campus. Currently, we have plans in place to invest approximately $20 million more on additional safety and security measures and have already made significant improvements to fencing and interior door locks. We also have plans in review to install security cameras on our campuses.
In addition to walking our campuses to check for physical safety, we monitor the social and emotional well-being of students and staff. We have an established Positive Behavior Intervention and Supports program on every campus, which includes bullying, suicide prevention and welfare checks with protocols for follow-up. In addition to adding school counselors and psychologists, we have increased student access to Mental Health Therapists. For employees, new this year has been the activation of an employee assistance program that is available to all staff and their families.
Lastly, communication within our community is vital. We depend on the vigilance of our students, parents, and community members who alert us to suspicious behavior and information to help keep our schools, students and employees safe. We regularly encourage our families and staff that “If they see something, or know something, to say something,” by contacting our Safety and Security Department at (916) 686-7765 or local law enforcement.
Christopher R. Hoffman