We are all extremely saddened by the events that unfolded in a Florida high school earlier this year. The loss of life that took place is truly a tragedy, and events like this strike too close to home for everyone who is responsible for safeguarding children. We want to assure each of you that we share your concern over such tragedies and we are vigilant and proactive here in the Wentzville School District in all areas – especially where the safety of our students and staff are concerned. We have multiple safety measures in place to help prevent and prepare for an emergency.
All staff members in our district, including teachers, administrators, and support staff, are trained in emergency response procedures and undergo active shooter training. We have crisis plans in place for each of our buildings to deal with emergency situations, including those similar to what occurred in Florida. We also run regular drills, including an intruder drill, which helps keep the right procedures and precautions top-of-mind for our staff and students. Members of our staff have been trained to recognize and address signs of trauma in our students so we can work closely with them, providing the necessary support and interventions they need while ensuring the safety of all students.
Our school district has a strong partnership with our local law enforcement officials, and we work with them closely to ensure that our schools are as safe as possible. We regularly consult with them for the latest recommendations in the event of an intruder as well as day to day safety issues. Our high schools are each staffed with a full-time school resource officer and officers tied to all our buildings are quick to respond when help is needed.
Counselors in our buildings are available to help students who have been affected by news of the Florida tragedy. If your child would like to speak to someone at school about his or her feelings, concerns or fears, please let us know, or encourage him or her to reach out to a trusted adult. Our teachers are also watchful of signs of students in distress, and actively work to ensure they get the support they need. It is critical that our students feel safe at school so they are free to learn.As parents and guardians, you play perhaps the most important role in helping your children process their emotions. Here are some strategies to consider:
For additional resources, we recommend the National Association of School Psychologists website.
- If possible, increase your availability if your child wants to talk about his/her concerns.
- Reduce access to media and repeated images of children and families in crisis.
- Ask older children to be mindful of discussions that could be upsetting to younger children.
- Remind your child that a lot of things are done to ensure their school is a safe place and that the adults there can be counted on for support.
Please be assured that the Wentzville School District has the safety and welfare of your child in mind at all times. We will work together to make sure that our procedures for preventing and dealing with dangerous situations such as this are as strong as possible, and that our children are protected. The more we work together with students, parents, staff, community members and law enforcement, the stronger and safer we are as a community.