“Schools are still the safest places for students to be.”
That was the first point emphasized by Dr. Harry Bull, superintendent of Cherry Creek Schools, during January meetings with staff, parents and community members in the wake of the December shooting at Arapahoe High School.
His second point was this: “We must rethink, reassess and re-evaluate all we do in the district for the safety of our students and staff. That is my commitment to you.”
Bull spoke to groups including the Board of Education, the Parent Information Network (PIN), Parents’ Council and the district’s Administrative Council, about steps the district is taking to further strengthen its comprehensive Safety and security plans. Those steps include meetings, drills and school visits with local law enforcement officials.
“We are also considering cameras in the fire lanes,” said Bull, noting that the Arapahoe and Sandy Hook shooters both parked in fire lanes.
“We have to practice our procedures,” Bull added. “Everyone must be familiar with our safety plans. There are no exceptions to that.”
Regular safety drills will continue to be held at all schools so staff and students know exactly what to do in different types of emergencies. The district is also implementing a new emergency notification system that will be used to provide important information to every classroom and office in every school in the district.
The district already has a strong Mental Health team that continues to work with staff and students to identify and address potential threats, and provide mental health support across the district. That includes the CARE LINE, where anyone can report a threat or concern – anonymously if they wish - by phone or email at 720.554.2273 or firstname.lastname@example.org.
Bull said it is imperative that everyone encourage students and others to come forward if they have a concern or are aware of a potential threat.
“The last thing they want to be is a snitch,” said Bull. "But we have to continue to shape that culture that they let us know.”
For more information about Safety and Security in Cherry Creek Schools, visit http://www.cherrycreekschools.org/SafeSchools/Pages/default.aspx.
Posted January 28, 2014.