The power of relationships
By Dennis L. Carpenter, Ed.D.
School safety has been on my mind in recent weeks as we follow the national debate on how best to protect our students and staff members from individuals determined to do harm. Our district has had a constant focus on safety and we are continuing this emphasis through ongoing discussions as well as safety and security enhancements.
The safety efforts in our schools are too numerous to mention in this brief column but they include measures such as staff training, student drills, secure entrances and school resource officers. To learn more about our district’s many safety-focused efforts, I would encourage you to also visit our safety webpage at http://www.lsr7.org/district/school-safety/.
In this message, I want to emphasize what I believe is our schools’ most important tool when it comes to keeping students, employees and visitors safe — the power of relationships.
Our staff members have done an exemplary job of establishing relationships with our students that are built on trust and mutual respect. Thanks to these relationships, students and their families appear very willing to report concerns related to student safety within our schools. In several instances, information provided directly from students and parents has proven to be invaluable as we have investigated and addressed various situations.
As always, we are enormously grateful for our partnership with local law-enforcement and first responders. These dedicated police and fire officials are quick to respond when we need assistance and always place our students’ safety first.
To further enhance our ability to learn of potentially troubling behaviors, our district offers a SafeSchools Alert system where anyone can anonymously report a tip. Look for the SafeSchools Alert red-and-white lifesaver on each school’s home page to report tips via text, e-mail, website or telephone.
We are continuing to have discussions with our employees, students and community members to determine how we can improve safety for students and staff while ensuring a caring environment within our schools.