After various claims of impending school violence in recent days in light of the recent tragedy in Florida, two area superintendents who have had threats claimed within their school districts pledged Tuesday their commitment to all community …
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In light of the recent tragedy in Florida, we have received several potential threats in Sumter School District. We pledge to our students, parents, employees and the community to take any threat seriously. In all cases, we will ask law enforcement officials to help us evaluate the validity of the threat. If we identify the student(s) responsible for making a threat or perpetuating a rumor, we promise swift and strong disciplinary action and will involve law enforcement as appropriate. Students and staff must feel safe at school. It also is imperative that we all protect the educational environment.
We ask for support from our parents/guardians in the following ways: talk frequently with your children about what they are hearing and seeing at school or in the neighborhood; discuss with them the seriousness of playing a prank, teasing or spreading rumors; encourage them to report any suspicious activity to a trusted adult at school or to you; and notify the school if you hear of any potential problems or threats. Parents and students may also report information on Sprigeo, which is available on each school’s website.
The first and most important priority of Sumter School District is the safety of our students and staff. Any time a tragedy like this happens, it reminds us of how precious life is and the importance of emergency procedures and proper training. Certainly in this day and age we can never be absolutely protected against all circumstances, but we do educate our students and staff throughout the year and rely on our parents to help us ensure we reinforce our own safety procedures.
Our joint emergency action plans were developed in accordance with state and federal best practices and in partnership with local public safety professionals. Law enforcement is a partner in the annual review of our plans, and they evaluate our implementation of emergency drills and provide training for school staff as requested. The review of our plans reveal strengths and weaknesses, and in some cases, procedures are revised or enhanced. Each joint emergency action plan at the school level helps prepare school sites on lockdown drills, evacuation procedures, natural disaster precautions as well as communication with families, students, parents and communities during a crisis. School safety procedures also address the access of our buildings by the public. A variety of drills are conducted on a regular basis.
Training in school safety for school staff takes place throughout the year. The school district also provides immediate crisis response training for the Disturbance Intervention Response teams and the Mental Health Support teams.
In addition, all visitors to our schools must enter and sign in using Ident-a-Kid with the school office. Security cameras are in all of our schools, and seven resource officers serve Sumter School District.
Again, the safety and security of our students and staff is a top priority at all times in our school district. Working together, we can ensure that the educational process is allowed to continue in the safe, uninterrupted environment that our children deserve. We appreciate your continued support of a safe learning environment for students.
Debra W. Hamm, Ph.D.
Interim Superintendent, Sumter
After various claims of impending school violence in recent days in light of the recent tragedy in Florida, two area superintendents who have had threats claimed within their school districts pledged Tuesday their commitment to all community stakeholders to take any threat seriously.
Sumter School District Interim Superintendent Debbie Hamm said in a statement that in all cases, the district will ask law enforcement officials to help it evaluate the validity of a threat. She also said if a student is found responsible for a threat, appropriate action will be taken to ensure school safety.
"If we identify the student(s) responsible for making a threat or perpetuating a rumor, we promise swift and strong disciplinary action and will involve law enforcement as appropriate," Hamm said. "Students and staff must feel safe at school. It also is imperative that we all protect the educational environment."
On behalf of the district, Hamm asked for support from parents and guardians in several ways, including talking frequently with their children about what they're hearing and seeing at school and discussing with them the seriousness of playing a prank, teasing or spreading rumors.
Hamm also asked parents or guardians to encourage their children to report any suspicious activity to a trusted adult at school or to them. If their children tell them of potential threats or problems, parents are asked to notify the school immediately.
Hamm said parents and students may also report information on Sprigeo, a school safety threat online reporting system, which is available on each school's website.
"The first and most important priority of Sumter School District is the safety of our students and staff," Hamm said.
John Tindal said that's also the priority in Clarendon School District Two. He also said local law enforcement are contacted automatically when a threat occurs.
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