In the aftermath of the most recent school shooting, I am still struggling to find words that describe my feelings about this tragedy. These are difficult times that challenge us to know how to support students and families when events like the Florida shooting happen. Even though there is no way to guarantee that every student is 100% safe all the time, I can assure you that the East Valley School District continues to do everything possible to make each one of our schools a safe and healthy place.
The East Valley School District has invested over $1,000,000 to harden the entrances to our schools and installed sophisticated camera systems to enhance safety for our students and staff. Guests to our schools are observed and buzzed in to our schools only after we determine they do not pose a threat. We have partnered with the Yakima County Sheriff Department to staff a full-time armed school resource officer whose job is to be in schools daily. Our schools have engaged in discussions about active shooter “Run, Hide, Fight” strategies and school safety response plans to implement evacuations, lockdowns, and secure and teach strategies. As our District Safety/Crisis Committee members continue to meet, we will continue to engage in activities that help us prepare to respond to emergencies in the most effective and efficient ways.
The East Valley School District is also working to support students to be physically and emotionally healthy. As mental health issues increase in our society, we are creating enhanced opportunities to support our students and families. Every East Valley School has at least one certificated counselor to help our students manage social and emotional challenges. The East Valley School District is a Positive Behavior Intervention Support (PBIS) district. Not only does this behavior management philosophy encourage positive behavior, it also creates a culture for student support and student reporting.
As we walk together through these difficult times, I encourage you to report incidents and concerns involving our schools and our students. I also encourage you to have discussions with your children as to the importance of reporting student issues and safety concerns to any adult they feel most comfortable with. We have partnered with SafeSchools to provide anonymous incident and bullying reporting 24 hours a day, 7 days a week. A link to SafeSchools is available in the FOR FAMILY section of our district and all school websites. https://evsd90-wa.safeschoolsalert.com/ Please remember that if you see or hear something, you should Say Something!