As we will be returning to school tomorrow and in the light of the recent tragedy in Parkland Florida, I believe it is important to share with you what we have in place to ensure the safety of our students in the Norwood Public Schools. Please know that your child’s safety, well-being, and security are our number one priority. Below you will find a list of continual efforts made by the Norwood Public Schools to ensure our students are safe. It is important to note that Norwood was recently listed twelfth, in a list of the top one hundred safest school districts in the Commonwealth. We will continue to work to ensure the highest level of safety possible. My hope is that this letter will provide some comfort as we return to the classroom tomorrow.
- Crisis management teams and crisis management plans at each building; we have written and practiced plans for all emergencies including an active shooter incident. We will be reviewing and practicing our Lockdown or active shooter drills this coming week
- All outside doors in all of our schools are locked during school hours with only the main entrance door enabled to receive visitors after speaking with main office staff.
- All classroom doors can be locked and teachers are trained to do so in the event of an active shooter incident.
- Training in the most recent protocols for active shooter response, the Run-Hide -Fight protocols recommended by the office of homeland security and the NYPD. A copy of the training video can be found on our website (under video on demand).
- The district has two school resource officers both based in the schools and it is important to note that most districts only have one.
- A close relationship with Norwood Police Department reflected recently in starting the “adopt a cop” program where schools are regularly visited by police, thus increasing visibility and presence
- Close supervision of recess and transitions to and from the school where the staff is equipped with radios that communicate with the main office.
- Guidance and Adjustment counselors are trained individuals who provide students and families with assistance in social-emotional matters.
- District Safety Team, the collaboration between the Norwood Police and District Leadership that annually review our emergency procedures. We will bring together this team again to review our protocols especially in light of the most recent incident
- District-wide contact form, the district website has the ability to receive information from the public in all areas of concern. Although for speed and accuracy, I would urge people to contact the school Principal directly. This contact form can be found at http://www.norwood.k12.ma.us/about/contact
- Parent notification system, we use the Blackboard system to notify families of important information and events. In the case of an emergency requiring evacuation, information would include where to meet and reunify with your child. I would strongly encourage you to ensure your contact information is updated regularly.
- Massachusetts has some of the strictest gun laws in the nation. These laws include a ban on assault-type weapons, which includes the AR-15. Furthermore, people who possess firearms must be licensed with the local police department, and if there are any concerns or violation of the law, the Police Chief can suspend the license and order the surrender of the weapons.
I have been asked to share with families how they can support their children. Below you will find additional web resources that may be of help. Please know that if you child is demonstrating any anxiety or fear around school safety, please contact your child’s Principal immediately.
- View Report to Parents – Helping Children Cope with Tragedy
- View Talking to Children About Violence: Tips for Parents and Teachers Website
- View N.Y. Times Article – Resources for Talking and Teaching About the School Shooting in Florida
- American Psychological Association, Talking to your children about School Shootings
- View N.B.C. News Article – What mental health experts say to their kids about school shootings
Please know that as a parent and educator these are not easy times for any of us. I would ask that we all work together to continue to create a safe and positive learning environment for our children.
David L. Thomson, Ed.D
Superintendent of Schools