Superintendent Message: Texas school tragedy; my pledge for continued safety, security

Posted by SBLSD on 5/24/2022

My heart breaks deeply for those affected by today’s school tragedy at Robb Elementary School in Uvalde, Texas. From New York to Texas and points throughout our nation, senseless mass shootings or acts of violence of any kind are absolutely unacceptable, which intensifies my pledge to continue doing everything possible to keep our students and staff safe. 

We will never become numb to these incidents nor to the ripple effects felt here in our Sumner-Bonney Lake community. Families trust us daily to provide a safe learning environment for their precious children, a responsibility we don’t take lightly. The Bonney Lake and Sumner police departments will provide increased presence at schools this week.

Please know, we will not waiver in our steadfast commitment to the security of our buildings and the safety of our students and staff — every day, not only when tragedy strikes elsewhere. Here are some of the District’s ongoing safety and security measures:

  • Emergency Drills: Every month all schools perform emergency drills, which include fire/evacuation, lockdown, earthquake, shelter-in-place and safety-related.
  • Secure electronic entry systems: Most schools have either a safety vestibule or secure electronic entry systems into classroom areas. Schools in construction (Sumner HS and Mountain View MS) will incorporate these features.  
  • Locking Classroom Doors: Staff have the ability to lock their classroom door.
  • School Resource Officers: School Resource Officers monitor all of our schools located within Sumner and Bonney Lake city limits. For schools located outside city limits, the District is in discussion with the Pierce County Sheriff’s Department and is researching opportunities to have SROs at those schools in the future.
  • Campus Safety Officers: Campus safety officers at middle and high schools.
  • Security Cameras: Security cameras are installed at all of our schools.
  • Partnerships: Partnerships with law enforcement and emergency management agencies include safety meetings, coordination of emergency drills, staging, risk assessments and staff trainings. School Board policies on Relationships with Law Enforcement and Other Government Agencies (4310) and School Safety and Security Services Program (4311).
  • Training and Preparedness: District staff is trained on effective school emergency management and regularly drill as an Emergency Operations Center re-enacting a wide range of possible threats and hazards that may impact a school. Safety and security staff receive a number of trainings with local law enforcement and local jurisdictions to enhance our ability to respond quickly and effectively when there is a threat to student safety.

We all share the responsibility of creating safe learning environments so students can achieve their highest potential. Here’s how you can help:

  • Report any potential threats. If your child sees something that may be a threat at school or online, please report it to your school principal, a trusted adult or law enforcement. You may also use our anonymous Report It system via phone, text, email or web.
  • Make sure your school has up-to-date contact information on file in case we need to notify you about an emergency situation. The Family Communication Protocol lets families know how and when they will be informed about a schoolwide emergency situation.

We’re thankful for our vigilant staff, secure facilities and strong partnerships with law enforcement agencies to help maintain safe schools.

Laurie Dent, Ph.D.