December 15, 2012
Dear Norfolk Public Schools Parents and Guardians,
I am shocked and saddened by the school shootings in Connecticut. My thoughts are with the families who lost beloved children or adults at Sandy Hook Elementary School on Friday. Although no one foresaw such a senseless act, the incident naturally causes all of us to pause and review our routines and procedures to determine whether we could prevent or effectively contain such a random act of violence here.
I want you to know that Norfolk Public Schools began, even before Friday’s tragedy, a thorough review of division- and school-level crisis plans. All of our schools have crisis plans that address a range of incidents, such as fires, bomb threats, natural disasters, police incidents at properties surrounding a school, and violent trespassers on school grounds. Our schools practice a host of mock crisis situations, including lockdowns where students and teachers protect themselves by locking themselves into their classrooms. All of our schools have safety procedures for controlling visitors, such as locked entry doors and staff posted at entrances to direct visitors to the main office for ID checks. We have procedures for involving NPS security teams and Norfolk Police in removing suspicious or disruptive people from school grounds. School crisis plans align with the division’s plan.
We are conducting the full review of our crisis plans in collaboration with our principals, Central Office leaders, and our partners in the City of Norfolk’s Department of Emergency Preparedness and Response. We will ensure that our plans are up to date and incorporate appropriate best practices, and that our school staffs are fully trained and equipped to follow their plans.
You can help by ensuring that your school has on file your current contact information, including emergency phone numbers, at all times. You also can help by following your school’s security procedures, such as checking identification for visitors and requiring visitors to check in at the main office. Speak to your children about the need to take drills seriously, and to obey staff instructions during times of disruption or crisis.
The safety of our children is our primary concern at all times.
Samuel T. King, Ed.D.
Superintendent of Schools