The following is a press release from Superintendent Dr. Gary Woods of the Beverly Hills Unified School District.
I am writing you in response to the tragic events that occurred in a Connecticut elementary school this morning. An adult shooter entered the school and it is reported that there are multiple deaths and injuries. Our hearts go out to the members of that school community and to all of us who devote our lives to loving and raising children.
Some parents have already contacted our schools about this event. The natural response for all of us is, "Could something like this happen in our schools?" While we all know that there are no guarantees, the safety and welfare of our students and staff is always our highest priority.
Here in BHUSD, we continually work to maximize student and employee safety in our schools. We do this by:
- Maintaining excellent relationships with the police and fire departments and city officials in our city. They always provide outstanding rapid response service whenever called.
- Regularly practicing school wide drills, including lockdown drills, to prepare for worst case scenarios. The specifics of these drills are embedded in each school's safety plan.
- Maintaining an emergency communication system that we use to connect rapidly with our parents by phone or email.
- As a parent of four teenagers, I, like you, will address this issue at home tonight with my children.
Experts advise us to do the following:
- Talk to your children. Bad things do happen, but there are many people in our schools and our community working to keep everyone safe.
- Limit exposure to the news. Video footage will be shown throughout the next few days and weeks, and we must monitor carefully.
- Try to keep a sense of normalcy in your children's lives.
- Look for signs of anxiety, and if you see them, let us know and we will work with you to address your child's needs.
- It's our job as parents to continue monitoring and listening to our children.
In times like these, we are reminded that every single adult in our school community contributes to our students' safety and well-being. Thank you for caring, loving and doing all you do for the children in Beverly Hills.
Dr. Gary W. Woods
Superintendent of Schools