Following the shooting at Freeman High School near Spokane, Lake Washington School District Superintendent Dr. Traci Pierce released the following letter:
Dear Lake Washington School District families,
Many of you have seen the disturbing news regarding the shooting at Freeman High School, which is near Spokane, Washington, this morning. Our thoughts and prayers go out to the students, their families and the surrounding community.
Since this terrible situation occurred in our state and is garnering significant media coverage, I want to provide you with information on our district’s efforts to keep students safe. In addition, I want to provide you with information that may be helpful in talking with your child.
Student safety continues to be our district’s top priority:
- All of our schools in Lake Washington have crisis response plans in place that address a full range of emergency situations. We do regular lockdown drills in all of our schools to prepare for all kinds of emergencies, including active shooter situations. We partner with local law enforcement and safety experts.
- Our schools are equipped with interior door locks and window shading systems for use in lockdown and emergency situations. We are installing exterior card access systems. These safety upgrades were funded through passage of the 2014 capital projects levy.
- Security cameras are in use at our comprehensive high schools.
In addition, you can help. We need students, parents, staff and community members to continue to report any concerns to administrators as soon as they arise. We assure you that every concern we receive is taken seriously.
Your student(s) may have heard this news in some way, whether from television, radio, adults or their friends. Since the situation took place in a school in our state, the news may be especially disturbing to them. Here are a few suggestions for helping to make students feel safe:
- Turn off or monitor the television. Endless news coverage is likely to heighten anxiety.
- Maintain a normal routine.
- Stick to facts. Answer questions factually.
- Remain calm and reassuring. Students take their cues from their parents and adults.
- Be a good listener and observer. Pay attention to changes in behavior.
- Take care of yourself. You are better able to help your students if you are coping well. If you are anxious or upset, your students are more likely to be so as well.
Our building administrators, school counselors, and teachers are working hard to ensure student safety and provide emotional support for students. Thank you for your continued support of our schools.
Dr. Traci Pierce,