We held a Community Safety Forum on Monday evening and I want to thank those who attended - who participated openly with ideas, concerns and solutions. We are compiling all the feedback. Our goal is to prioritize and categorize the ideas (concerns and solutions) so we can develop short and long-term solutions. There is no greater fear than harm to our children. And there is no greater responsibility than our children's safety - a responsibility that I, along with all Lakewood staff, take very seriously.
I want to assure you that we are taking steps to keep students and staff safe. What we know is that it takes a combination of proactive practices and security measures to keep everyone safe.
Some proactive practices we have in place include the following:
- Being vigilant in our relationships with students and parents.
- Ensuring teacher presence in hallways between classes.
- Teaching students interpersonal skills so they are better able to voice concerns.
- Continuing to remind students, parents and staff that when "you see something, say something."
- Connecting as a community through safety forums, parent education nights and coffee chats. (our next coffee chat is March 6th at 8:00am at Hebron New Life UMC)
- Partnering with law enforcement to investigate every reported concern.
- Safety drills conducted regularly with adjustments and debriefing a regular part of the procedure.
- Identification of students who may be at risk and utilization of resources such as Village Network, Pathways of Licking County and Behavioral Health Partners.
Some security measures we have reinforced:
- Partnering with law enforcement to assess buildings for safety.
- Law enforcement presence in buildings and on school grounds.
- Monitoring school entries and ensuring adults entering the building have specific business in the buildings.
- Reminding students not to open doors for anyone.
- Reporting concerns to law enforcement.
Our ongoing vigilance as a community is an important element of safety for our students and staff. We are currently working with Sheriff Thorp to enhance security presence for Lakewood Local. Thank you for all you are doing in your homes to teach your children positive ways to resolve conflicts and encouraging them to share their concerns with adults who can take the appropriate actions.
We will continue to share updates with you to keep you informed and welcome your thoughts and ideas.
Mary Kay Andrews, Superintendent