Westlake Schools Respond to Newtown Violence

Westlake Schools Respond to Newtown Violence

Westlake City Schools responded to December’s tragic violence in Newtown, Conn., by issuing a statement to families Dec. 16:

To Our Westlake Schools Parents,

The events in Newtown, Connecticut, on Friday, Dec. 14 were tragic, incomprehensible and extremely saddening. Circumstances like these hit close to home and emotionally wear on us all. First and foremost, we want you to let you know again that we understand the importance of continuing to put forth our very best effort to ensure our schools are as safe and secure as possible. We realize some of our safety precautions and processes can be inconveniences, but know that those procedures were thoughtfully created with our local safety forces to ensure a safe and secure environment for our staff and students.

This has been and continues to be a top priority for the Westlake City Schools. We will remain vigilant in following safety and security protocols. We regularly revisit those protocols with Westlake Police and our safety committee quarterly and immediately after an event like the one that took place Friday. Should any adjustments to our procedures be made we will communicate those to you. As always, if you have input you believe will contribute to improving our efforts you are encouraged to share that with your child’s principal.

There is a high likelihood your child has approached you about the Newtown tragedy. We have provided a resource from the National Association of School Psychologists on our website – www.wlake.org – for our families who are looking for support for these types of conversations. You can let your child know the district works very hard and thoughtfully to ensure our schools are safe. We have a comprehensive safety plan developed with the Westlake Police and Fire Departments and continually evaluate and update the plan to be prepared for all emergencies.

It takes much more than a deep knowledge of standards and teaching strategies to see we Educate for Excellence every day. Thank you for entrusting us with your child, we know what a privilege that is and will continue to work in partnership with you to provide the right care for them to learn in a safe environment.

Dec. 14, 2012

To Our Westlake Schools Parents,

We are saddened to hear of the tragic events that unfolded in Connecticut today.  Our hearts go out to the families and community of Newtown.
During this time it is important to communicate that the Westlake City  School District understands that a ll communities need to do their best to be prepared for crisis situations.  We also wanted to send to our parents a reminder that our district has a crisis plan in place to respond to emergency situations. We work very closely with Westlake Police and Fire Departments to not only review our plans annually with staff, but to make adjustments and practice those plans.

As part of that plan, each school participates in lockdown drills that Westlake Police officers periodically participate in or review. In fact, the Westlake City Schools and City of Westlake partner so that three resource officers are in our school buildings. These officers help us each year to review our multiple camera placements in each building and to refine our plans.

All of our schools are staffed by counselors who are trained to help students and staff through crisis situations. Those counselors also have initiated programs within our buildings to encourage students to bring their concerns to any staff member. We also have developed a communication system for our school community that allows us to provide accurate information promptly. This may mean communicating multiple times, but we have utilized our auto-call, email and text system to help reduce rumors that can add to chaotic situations.

Today’s tragic event in Connecticut is a sobering and unfortunate reminder that we need to remain vigilant in keeping safety as a first priority. We are committed to doing so.

This is a good opportunity to ensure that your email and emergency contact information is up to date with your child’s school. We also want to remind our students that the most effective way to prevent violence, threats and bullying is to turn to a trusted adult.  If a parent or child is made aware of a threat or concern that could impact the safety of others, please report that information to the school principal or utilize the district’s anonymous School Safety Line at440.250.1199.

Our administrative staff has been in discussions about today’s events so that we can continue to work to be at our best.

Thank you for helping to keep our schools safe.

The Westlake Schools

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