Dear parents and family members of our students,
The news of the February 15th shooting in a Florida school is disheartening and sad.
Although many of them have not received the same attention as yesterday’s horrific incident, there have been over 15 shootings on school or university campuses in 2018 already. Almost all of these shootings have been by students themselves or happened outside of an actual school building.
We take seriously the safety of students and staff. Our principals and central office administrators have been collectively overseeing schools and students for more than 125 years, which allows us to rely on a valuable set of experiences when safety is concerned.
In addition to school-based planning, the district’s safety team meets multiple times a year to review safety procedures, protocols, and results from activities designed to prepare students and staff to appropriately respond in the case of an emergency. These meetings regularly include local law enforcement and responder agencies, as well as community partner agencies, to discuss and improve our approaches and practices. Improvements often include recommendations based on recent incidents in the national spotlight.
Each of our schools and students participate annually in a minimum of 3 fire trainings, 1 lockdown training, and 1 severe weather training. We have also, over the past years, incorporated double door entry systems, increased security camera coverage, and check-in procedures for schools. Each school has an approved safety plan that includes procedures for active shooter scenarios, tornadoes, bomb threats, and other possible emergency situations.
The district contracts with the City and the County for School Resource Officers (SRO’s) who are on-site daily at Belvidere and Belvidere North High Schools and respond to needs at corresponding elementary and middle schools. SRO’s are trained and certified by the National Association of School Resource Officers, which is a 40-hour training course. They also participate in continued education trainings each summer at state and national conventions.
My heart breaks for those who have been impacted by violence throughout the country in the past year, including not only the school shootings, but also the Las Vegas shooting, the First Baptist Church shooting in Sutherland Springs, and the Fort Lauderdale Airport baggage claim shooting. Every principal in the district, their school administration team, and the district office take the safety of our students and our community as a vitally important part of their responsibility.
I appreciate all you do for our students to create a safe learning environment. My thoughts and prayers go out to the staff, students, and families who have had this horrible experience. I continue to hope for a future that is better for our children.
Dr. Daniel Woestman, Superintendent
Belvidere School District 100