Good evening Hart District families,
It has been a difficult day for all of us, having learned of another senseless tragedy involving gun violence. Given our community’s experience with tragedy, it seems appropriate and necessary to acknowledge yesterday’s horrible news, even if there are no words sufficient to speak to the depth of the grief and anger we all feel.
Because we understand this news may impact our community in different ways, we encourage you to review these helpful resources.
- Parent Guidelines for Helping Youth After the Recent Shooting (The National Child Traumatic Stress Network – English/Spanish)
- Talking to Children About Violence: Tips for Parents and Teachers (National Association of School Psychologists – English/Spanish)
- Coping in the Aftermath of a Shooting (American Counseling Association)
Earlier today, Santa Clarita school districts sent out a joint communique prepared by the Sheriff’s Department providing a snapshot of some expanded security. This morning, all five Valley Superintendents convened a meeting with Captain Justin Diez to discuss how we can work together to keep our schools safe. The Sheriff’s Department committed to increasing law enforcement presence around schools through the conclusion of the school year. These actions are not prompted by any specific known threat to our community, but rather serve as an indication of our community’s extraordinary level of collaboration with local law enforcement.
Hart District families can be encouraged to know that we have been working diligently to enhance both safety protocols and mental health and wellness supports since the Saugus tragedy occurred in November of 2019. Our efforts have been guided by a report prepared by several experts in the field titled “Enhancing Plans and Procedures for the Prevention of Targeted Violence.” Twice a year the Governing Board hears a report on the progress we have made toward implementing these best practices. I encourage you to listen in to the details of those updates by accessing the videos available on our Safety Webpage. Highlights of important changes include:
- A new crisis communication platform (Crisis-Go) that enables emergency information to be shared instantly across multiple systems and with local law enforcement.
- A new cyber-security program (Bark for Schools) that alerts administration to alarming language or images of concern.
- A new visitor management program (Safe Visitor).
- Expansion of security camera coverage throughout the District by a total of 192 units.
- Installation of 27,000 square feet of shatter-resistant glass film throughout the District.
- Rebranding and marketing of Student-Care Lines (formerly Text-a-Tip) as a platform for the community to say something if they see something. Care Lines can be located here.
- Bi-weekly scheduled meetings of District Care Teams and multidisciplinary Site Student Care Teams to proactively support students who may need additional support or services.
- Firearm detection canines (fall 2022).
- Annual safety audits.
While this list does not represent the sum total of the work we are doing to enhance security, it does provide some confirmation of our commitment to safety as our first priority.
Our hearts break for the families of Uvalde, Texas. Please let us know what we can do to support you if you have questions or concerns.
William S. Hart Union High School District