School Safety Update
A Letter From Superintendent David McVicker
Posted on 03/02/2018
School Safety Update

Dear Families, Students and Community:

We were all shocked and saddened by what happened at Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School in Florida. Our thoughts and prayers are with all those affected. The tragedy brought forth many feelings, conversations and fears right here in our community. Some of you have reached out to ask about safety in our schools. I understand your concerns and appreciate your questions. Our highest priority is keeping our schools safe for our students, staff and community.

We take any threat to our schools, students and staff seriously. We have strong partnerships with the Kitsap County Sheriff’s Office and with Central Kitsap Fire & Rescue. We work closely with them to protect our students and staff and to address school and community safety issues. These agencies are also involved in reviewing our school safety plans. All schools conduct safety drills each year, at least one per month.

Over the past 18 months, all staff received training on the “Alert, Lockdown, Inform, Counter, Evacuate” (ALiCE) program. We will continue to conduct annual ALiCE trainings for all staff. This spring, we are beginning ALiCE drills with students. We held parent meetings this winter to share information about these plans.

Our secondary schools have security guards who focus on the safety of their campuses. The high schools each have two security guards. Two years ago, we added a School Resource Officer (SRO), a Kitsap County Sheriff’s Deputy, to our staff. He is based at Olympic High School and assists at other schools as needed. We plan to expand this SRO presence to include full-time coverage at our other high schools.

At the elementary level, we added counselors at five of our elementary schools this year. We plan to have counselors at every elementary school by next year. Our students come to us with diverse needs and challenges. Counselors help ensure students receive the support they need to be successful. This is similar to the work our counselors already do at the secondary level, which sometimes includes connecting students to help through community resources. This work is part of our effort to build caring relationships throughout our schools and it helps promote positive school climates.

Monitoring access to our schools is also crucial. The 2016 bond includes funds for new secure entrances and security cameras at all our schools. This work is already done at two of our schools; work at seven others is underway. By the end of next school year, each of our schools will have a secure main entry. This will provide a single point of access to the building during the school day. All visitors will be directed to the office before gaining entry into the building. Once inside, all staff, volunteers and visitors will be required to wear identification badges.

Related to this is our ground crew’s work to maintain clear lines of sight outside our schools. This includes trimming and removing trees and plants that block the view of entrances, building perimeters, parking lots, playgrounds and athletic fields.

Some parents have asked what they can do to help. You can help by encouraging your child to be aware of their surroundings, the behavior of other students or anything that makes them uncomfortable. Please tell your child to report anything they see or hear that bothers them. This includes social media comments and postings. Find family tip sheets on our website. Finally, encourage your child to practice kindness. This is essential as we focus on promoting inclusive and positive school climates.

Above all, nothing matters more to us than our students and their well-being. During the board meeting on February 28, we gave a presentation on our safety efforts. Board members will discuss possible changes to our safety plans and measures during a study session on Wednesday, March 14. They will also look at ways of increasing access to community resources, including mental health services, as we address the needs of students and families.

Thank you for your support as we work together to ensure the safety of our schools and our community.


David McVicker