Letter from Superintendent Norton Regarding School Safety
Feb. 23, 2018
Dear CCSD employees, parents and students,
Cache County School District joins with the rest of the nation in mourning the loss of lives during the recent shooting in Florida. Unfortunately, these types of incidents are becoming all too common. It is difficult to fully comprehend what motivates someone to act out violently against others as a solution to the problems they are facing. However, events like this serve to remind us of the importance of working to prevent such events from happening in the first place and of providing a safe and secure learning environment for students.
We are thankful for our team of administrators, teachers, counselors and other school personnel who care for the needs of all students. Their efforts are augmented by student assistance teams that address the needs of those who require extra support. Student-led organizations provide opportunities for peers to lift and look out for one another. The goal is to ensure that each student in our district is known and valued as an individual.
We are grateful for the friendship, unity, and inclusion we see daily in our schools as students interact with one another. We appreciate students and parents who are alert and proactive in reporting any concerns that would impact student safety. If students do not feel comfortable sharing information face-to-face, programs such as SAFEUT and Anonymous Tips allow them to report concerns anonymously. There are links to both programs on our district and school websites.
Our district is in the process of implementing an Emergency Communication System in every school which improves the ability of school personnel and law enforcement to communicate in an emergency. When used in conjunction with other established school safety procedures and protocols, this system will greatly augment our ability to keep students and school personnel safe. Each school holds regular drills to ensure that staff and students know how to respond to various emergency situations. Within the last year, we finished retrofitting all classroom doors so that they can be locked from the inside by teachers.
Additionally, our district, in cooperation with the Cache County Sheriff’s office, employs school resource officers who work at each high school and are available to assist in an emergency. Local first responders receive training specific to dealing with issues in school settings. Officers also visit our elementary and middle schools frequently to provide age-appropriate training and to establish positive relationships with students.
Beyond measures we have already taken, we are committed to working with schools, parent-teacher organizations, school community councils, local law enforcement and community members to evaluate additional steps we can take to improve security within our schools and to further support students and staff. Our thoughts are with our fellow educators and the families who lost loved ones.
Steven C. Norton
Superintendent, Cache County School District
The recent shooting can be difficult for students, and even adults, to process and understand. As appropriate, we encourage teachers and parents to discuss student concerns in the classroom and at home. These resources are available to provide talking points and guidance in discussing the recent tragedy:
School Shootings and Other Traumatic Events: How To Talk To Students (National Education Association)
Talking to Children About Tragedies and Other News Events (American Academy of Pediatrics)
National Child Traumatic Stress Network Resources
How to Help Kids Feel Safe After Tragedy (PBS Parents)
Emotional Distress from Incidents of Mass Violence (Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration)