I want to begin this communication by extending our sincerest condolences, thoughts and prayers to everyone associated with the terrible shooting incident at Chardon High School yesterday morning. As a parent of four school age children attending Olmsted Falls Schools, I know first-hand how disconcerting these tragic events are for all parents.
First and foremost, as parents and as a community, we want our children to be safe while at school. I am e-mailing you this afternoon to assure you that we have your children’s safety as the highest priority each school day and that we take this responsibility extremely seriously. Our District does have a safety plan, like all school districts do, and we routinely practice multiple types of safety drills (lockdown, fire drill, etc). We also have a close and supportive relationship with the safety forces in both Olmsted Township and Olmsted Falls.
For those who may not be aware, I want to take this opportunity to provide some additional information regarding the safety plans in place for Olmsted Falls School District:
- Established, written safety plans are in place for each of our five school buildings.
- Staff members are aware of the safety plans for their respective buildings. We will use this latest incident in Chardon to provide an extra opportunity to review our established plans and ensure that everyone is keenly aware of their role.
- Students and staff in all buildings practice complete lock down drills – which is the safety procedure that would go into immediate effect in the case of a building intruder.
- These lockdown drills are in addition to and separate from our regular fire and tornado drills.
- We work in partnership with area police departments and they review our plans. Each police and fire department also has copies of our building floor plans on file in their offices. Additionally, on occasion, in the evenings, the local police train in our buildings so that they have a good understanding of the layout of each of our buildings.
What can you as a parent do to help us maximize student safety?
- Please make sure that your phone numbers and e-mail addresses are current. In the event of an emergency, we would activate our automated phone system as well as utilize e-mail to communicate with parents. If you have had a change in phone number or e-mail address since you filled out emergency forms at the beginning of the school year, please contact the school building or buildings which your child(ren) attend(s).
- In reality, the students and families are our best ally in preventing these types of situations from occurring in the first place. As a school district, we do a lot with bully prevention programs, and that helps. At the same time, students planning violence in a school, often share their intentions, in advance, on Facebook or Twitter, or by texting or using some other type of social media. When this (advance warning on social media) occurs, we need families and students to share these concerns with us. We ask that students and parents forward any concerns to their building principal or the local police department. This is the best way to prevent these tragedies from occurring.
As always, it is extremely important that we all take emergency preparedness seriously. I encourage you to take some time to review with your children the seriousness of following all emergency procedures at school, as well as the importance of sharing concerns about anything they may be hearing or seeing come through social media outlets.
I appreciate your support as we work together to keep our students safe each day. I encourage you to contact me or your building principal if you have any questions relating to our District Safety Plan.
Yours in education,
Dr. Todd F. Hoadley
Olmsted Falls City Schools
26937 Bagley Road
Olmsted Falls, OH 44138
Telephone: (440) 427-6000
Fax: (440) 427-6010