At this time, I believe it is important to make a statement
regarding the state of safety within our school district. With the recent
events of school shootings both in Parkland, Fl and locally at Jackson Middle
school, as well as our own need to go into a Lockdown this past Friday February
23, 2018 at Lake middle school we feel it is necessary to communicate the
1) We passed a Bond/Operating Issue in May of 2015 that had monies directed towards safety and security. As a result, we were able to hire 2 school resource officers. This has been very beneficial to our district in developing and maintaining positive relationships with all of our local law enforcement forces. They have been instrumental in bringing industry experts into our buildings to evaluate and help continue to improve our safety plans. We will be using two additional staff days for training in May regarding the safety and security of our new buildings. This will allow us to prepare our staff appropriately for our new environments.
2) Over a year and a half ago we entered a program called mental health first aid. 2 of our school counselors were trained to identify various warning signs and protocols for helping students in need of mental health support. These counselors have in turn trained over 100 of our staff as a first line of defense in the mental health crisis we are facing. We have contracted with an agency that will provide a clinical counselor on our campus for our school counselors to refer to directly.
3) We have been planning to add the new Marcs radio system (Multi-Agency Radio Communication System) to our district. One radio or device will be placed in each building that has an emergency response button that will bring Law enforcement entities to the buildings immediately. Along with the Marcs radio system we will be adding a new radio system district wide for our buses and school personnel. We are moving from an analog system to a complete digital platform that will provide 100% coverage to all areas of our district.
4) We meet regularly with Security professionals regarding our current plans and are always evaluating what we need to improve upon. We have met with Federal officials with our Board of Education our next steps and to review what we currently have in place.
I would like to speak at this time about the Lockdown we had on Friday, February 23, 2018 at Lake Middle School. I made the decision to go into a lockdown due to the information I had in front of me at the time. There was a threat, contained in a note, of “shooting up the school at a specific time.” We went into what we have referred to as a soft lockdown. The difference between a soft lockdown and a hard lockdown is this: with a soft lockdown, all movement of students stops within the building. Doors are locked and teachers maintain instruction. During a hard lockdown, teachers and staff are directed to hide and shelter, turn off lights, barricade doors, and remain silent until first responders arrive.
In either lockdown situation staff is not to open a door for any reason. Personnel will key into a room if they need to enter.
Lessons learned from Friday, February 23, 2018:
I need to be crystal clear on the following:
1. What building is on lockdown?
2. What are parents to do (any lockdown situation in the future).
3. No one will be permitted access to the building until the lockdown is lifted.
4. I will direct parents as to whether they need to pick up their children or not.
5. Procedures for releasing of students.
6. Will buses run on their normal schedules?
As a result of the school shooting in our county we have done the following:
1. Increased police presence at all buildings.
2. Taken our SRO’s off of traffic duty.
3. Reduced entry points in our buildings during morning drop-offs.
4. Reviewed entry procedures for parents and visitors for all schools.
As I have expressed to you earlier this week, please discuss with your children these serious situations and that if they See something, Say something! Our kids often have information before any of the adults in charge of such situations.
On Monday, Feb. 26, 2018 all Stark County superintendents met with the Stark County Sheriff, and we have been briefed on all of the topics I have already discussed. The County Sheriff is leading the cause regarding the safety and security of our children.
We will continue to meet and institute best practices in all areas of school safety.
Thank you for your continued support.
Kevin Tobin, Superintendent
Lake Local Schools