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Tue, Aug. 20

Superintendent's report: Another tragedy and the impacts for school safety

There are many exciting things taking place in the Humboldt Unified School District these days.

This includes Humboldt Elementary School’s recognition for its innovative literacy program by Expect More Arizona; our middle school open houses; and the high school’s Future Freshmen Night; the Lifting Our Voices for Education rally; our Community Conversations with the Superintendent; and the kickoff of our “We Love Humboldt” campaign last week.

I always enjoy the opportunity to share our hard work with you in these columns as well as celebrate our wonderful staff who continue to be the champions that our children deserve.

However, in light of the recent events in Florida, I wanted to reach out and share a few thoughts. Once again, senseless violence has affected an educational community. These sort of events can bring a lot of fear and apprehension about the school environment, as I too, am a father of two school-age children. With this said, our area schools are safe schools, with many procedures in place to make sure that we can handle a negative situation if it were to occur. Please remember that your child’s school is the same safe school that you have trusted your most prized possession with for the time up to this horrific event.

Our area superintendents take school safety very seriously. We, on a regular basis, practice and review our safety policies with staff and students. These practices and reviews allow us to constantly monitor and adjust our safety procedures well above and beyond what most schools have.

Some of these safety practices include:

• School threat assessment plans;

• Student threat assessment procedures;

• Lock down procedures;

• Fire drills;

• District threat assessment team;

• Active shooter training; and,

• Fantastic relationships with local law enforcement and emergency personnel.

In the Humboldt district, we have a standing safety committee that is in the process of a comprehensive review of all of our safety protocols, from emergency response to addressing social-emotional needs. I feel confident speaking for quad-city area superintendents in that we believe all children have the right to live and learn in a safe and nurturing environment.

Our challenges continue to be reduced funding for capital expenditures that could enhance safety and inadequate operations budgets that limit access to critical supports such as social workers and mental health professionals within our schools.

Research demonstrates that learning is enhanced when children feel safe and have their physical and emotional needs met in a healthy school environment. This includes access to healthy foods, opportunities for physical activity, and access to preventive care and health services, including mental health.

These are issues that we must face as a community and work together to solve. Schools play a critical role in helping students feel safe and supported, and in providing students more intensive services and supports as necessary.

Please know that my door is always open and I am more than willing to discuss this, or any other issue you may have.

Thank you for sharing your children with us and we will stay committed to keeping them safe everyday they are with us.

Dan Streeter is the superintendent for the Humboldt Unified School District.

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