Dear Seattle Public Schools staff, families and community,
During the past few weeks we have heard reports of an unsettling number of violent crimes in our region. These senseless acts leave us stunned and heartbroken.
While these incidents did not occur in our school buildings, I want you to know that we closely monitor the neighborhoods around our schools for safety. While our mission is to make sure our students graduate prepared for college, career and life, safety comes first. When you entrust us with your child’s education, we know you are also trusting that they will be safe at school.
We work with the City of Seattle and the Seattle Police Department on an ongoing basis to ensure our school buildings are a safe place for our students to learn and for our instructors to teach. When an incident occurs near one of our schools we are in constant contact with the police department to determine if a school building should be secured. On Wednesday, we followed the direction of the Seattle Police Department in securing our schools. As a precautionary measure, some principals also voluntarily locked their school buildings.
I am proud of our principals and school staffs for working quickly with District Safety and Security personnel as well as the Seattle Police Department to make sure schools were secured. I am also proud of our students for remaining calm. While many students were not aware of Wednesday’s events as they unfolded, I do know that for some of our students and families these last few weeks have been stressful. I encourage you and your students to talk to the staff at your school if you are concerned or if you have questions about your school’s specific safety plans.
Finally, while I hope we never face another situation involving the security of multiple schools, I want to assure families that we will communicate information as quickly and accurately as possible in times of uncertainty. We recognize that some families were unable to get information quickly on Wednesday, and I know that is frustrating. During times of crisis, we will continue to provide accurate updates to the media, and you can also find more information online at www.seattleschools.org; via Twitter @seapubschools or by calling customer service at (206) 252-0010.
I want to offer my sincere condolences to those who lost loved ones in these recent tragedies. It is my hope that we can come together and support one another as a community.
Susan Enfield, Ed.D.
Seattle Public Schools