Walts: ‘We Must All Come Together To Be Ever Vigilant’

| December 18, 2012 | 0 Comments | Education

Prince William County Schools Superintendent Dr. Steven L. Walts sent a letter home to parents discussing safety procedures at county schools.

In response to the school shooting in Newtown, Conn., Superintendent of Schools Dr. Steven L. Walts released a letter to parents Monday, letting residents know what the school division is doing to protect and reassure students.

In his letter, he tells parents that he met with Acting Prince William Chief of Police Barry Barnard, who offered to increase patrols in and around schools and bus stops.

Barnard wants parents to know, “If you see something, say something.” Walts concurred with the sentiment.

“The Chief and I agree that we must all come together to be ever vigilant in looking out for each others’ safety on a daily basis,” Walts said. “PWCS and our first responders are committed to just that approach.”

In addition, Walts informed parents of the existence of the Divisionwide Safe Schools Advisory Council that was formed a few years ago to make sure each school had a crisis plan and safety procedures in the event of a crisis. The council consists of security experts, school staff and parents.

However, Walts said the details of the protocols would not be released as that sensitive information could ultimately place students in danger.

He said that that PWCS would be taking a second look at these protocols to make sure “all appropriate measures are in place and being faithfully followed.” He suggested that parents share their concerns or suggestions with their school principals.

However, while Prince William County schools aims to be responsive and address the concerns of parents, he explained that they are also being careful to protect the children from messages that may be disturbing to them. For this reason, a message regarding Sandy Hook Elementary School was removed from the PWCS website before school Monday morning.

Walts issued condolences to those families in Newtown, Conn, on behalf of himself and the school division. He also announced that school psychologists and guidance counselors would be available for students who want to talk about the shootings.

In closing, he said, “please know that teachers, administrators, and people across our schools and our community care deeply about the children of Prince William County and are fully committed to school safety. This is a difficult time for our nation, but together, we will get through it, and we will continue to give our children the love and support they need and deserve.”

© 2012, Bristow Beat. All rights reserved.

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