March 14, 2018 – Student Plans

March 5, 2018

Dear Brewer School Department Parents:

The purpose of this message is to communicate to you the plans that your children have developed and thought about for March 14, 2018.  There has been a great deal of discussion and debate across our country on the purpose of this day and what this walkout means to students. For Brewer, our students have chosen to focus on honoring the victims of school shootings across our country and having the opportunity to ask questions about school safety and security. Your children have asked for an indoor space after hearing the Brewer Police Department and Brewer Administration had concerns about students congregating outside at a specific date and time.  Given the number of threats being made to schools recently, our students have been incredibly understanding and responsible as they plan this event on March 14.

High School Plans

This event is organized by the students.  They have asked that it be voluntary and that any student wishing to participate and honor the victims go to the gym at 10 AM on this day.  During this time, the students will have a moment of silence, put their thoughts on a banner, make new friends, and create cards building on the Brewer Community of Caring they already value and appreciate.  Students also have questions about school safety.  During this time, the Brewer Police Department and administration will be present to answer questions they may have on school safety and security.  The goal of this event is to give students the voice they are asking for in honoring the victims and helping our students feel safer in our schools by providing them with the answers to the questions they are asking.

Community School Plans

The teachers have been listening to the students this week for any questions or needs regarding school safety.  During a faculty meeting this Thursday, a discussion will occur to see if a similar plan to the high school is needed for the middle school students.  At this time, any questions that are being asked by students are being handled by the administration, school resource officer or the teacher.  A possible inside gathering for students with questions may occur if the need rises.  Mr. Leithiser or I will communicate any further Community School plans with you.

I have listened to many of you over the last week and stated I would get back to you with the plans for this twenty-minute time frame.  I am proud of the work that students have chosen to do and the proactive approach to the “walkout” they have taken.  Our administrative team, school resource officers, faculty and emergency response teams continue to review and practice our safety and security protocols.  We also continue to look for ways to enhance and build upon the practices we already have in place.

I thank you for your patience over the last two weeks.  I hope you can appreciate the work of your children. It is an honor to work with them daily. They truly are incredible children with caring hearts and a capacity to give to their community by learning how they can improve the safety of their schools.  If you have further questions, please call the Superintendent’s office at 989-3160.

Cheri Towle, Ed. D.
Superintendent of Schools

Emergency Training at High School During Vacation Week

Good Afternoon,

I wanted to send out an email to let the community know that there will be the annual emergency training at the high school on Monday, Tuesday, and Thursday this week by the Brewer Police Department and emergency responders. If you see cruisers and other vehicles present, they are there for training. The building will be closed to the public during this time. This training is for police and emergency responders only. In light of recent events in Florida, I did not want you to question what was happening at the high school as we are all saddened by the tragic shooting in Florida and feel for the families and communities that have been so impacted. Such events heighten concerns and anxieties of parents and students in our own community, and everyone rightly looks to school leaders to ensure the safety of children in our care. I want to give comfort to our city that our schools are safe places for learning.

Safety is of the utmost concern to any school superintendent or building administrator, and there are things that we can and must do in our area of responsibilities. Every incident further raises the bar on what our response should be as well as the very notion of what an educational environment should look like. Should, for example, we have bulletproof glass and monitored metal detectors in every school? And, when that may prove insufficient, should there be armed guards at every door? And, once our schools become prisons in the name of safety, what is the impact on education? Every school shooting incident is a time for reflection. On occasion, we have made changes to our protocols, and we will continue to monitor what is learned from Florida. We have an active Safety Team that meets monthly and our Board of Trustees and School Committee discuss safety regularly.

In our schools this past week, we allowed for open communication for those students that had questions and had counselors available to students that might have needed it. We offered support to our children and our faculty as we assured them we have protocols in place to protect them. As a reminder, doors in every school are locked and all visitors are required to sign in and be on a student’s emergency list to pick a child up. We do background checks on all volunteers and employees. We have resource officers in our schools and practice evacuations and lockdowns in various scenarios. I have answered many questions this past week on a one by one basis and welcome more if you have others. I wish I could give even more assurances, but know that we are made strong by our whole community being vigilant to any possible threats. I also know that the staff of Brewer School Department and the Brewer Police Department is dedicated to our students, and they continue to put safety at the top of the list.


Cheri Towle
Superintendent of Schools