School Safety Message

School Safety Message
Posted on 03/02/2018
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The following message was shared with our parents on February 16, 2018. It contains information pertaining to many of the questions we receive regarding safety in our schools. As you have or hear questions about safety measures in SDPC, please refer to the information below. If you have other questions, please don't hesitate to contact us directly.

This week, families across the country were stunned with the news of another deadly school shooting. Whenever such a tragedy hits, we receive many questions about security measures in our own schools, and we would like to provide you with as much information as we can share publicly without compromising our security plans.

Our board and administration feel strongly that one of the strongest security measures a school can have is the presence of a trained, armed law enforcement officer. With that belief in mind, every one of our high schools and middle schools has a full-time School Resource Officer. Additionally, last year our school board worked with the Pickens County Sheriff's Office to add full-time officers to our most remote elementary schools, and we reviewed agreements with other local police departments to increase police presence at all of our elementary schools.

It is also our regular practice to always operate during school hours in "modified lockdown," which means that all external doors remain locked, and that the doors of all occupied classrooms remain closed and locked when class is in session. Over the past decade, we have invested millions of dollars in secure entryways, security cameras, and other features to make it more difficult for an intruder to enter our schools. Our teachers and administrators also undergo training specifically for how to respond to an active shooter situation.

Our school safety measures are constantly under review, and we are always considering ways to update and improve the ways in which we strive to keep our students safe. Our school board and administration are always open to suggestions, and we understand that opinions on school safety can be as diverse as they are passionate.

As we work to keep schools secure, there are two important ways that parents can help.  First, please help us in reminding students to never open a school's external door for someone they do not know or trust. Second, please encourage your children to speak up to school staff or law enforcement if they are worried by behavior they see on social media. We need your help in educating students about the fact that even jokes about school violence on social media can have serious consequences, and that the warning signs of violence are often found in the online histories of school shooters.

Thank you for partnering with us as we try to provide a safe and nurturing environment for our students.