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.
Superintendent of Schools