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Superintendent's Corner

  • The Safety of Students and Staff Always Number One Priority

    Posted by Sandra Lyon on 4/4/2018

    Sandra Lyon

    In light of the increased numbers of school shootings, tensions are understandably running high among the education community locally and across the state and nation. Following the horrific mass shooting at a Florida high school just two months ago, safety concerns are in the forefront of the minds and hearts of students, staff members and the community at large here at home and throughout the United States. Many of our District students and local residents – led by Palm Springs High School’s Associated Student Body (ASB) -- showed their concern and support for gun control measures and paid tribute to the students who lost their lives in Parkland at the March 24 local march, which coincided with the national march in Washington D.C.


    The safety of our students and staff members has, is and always will be our number one priority. We all wish we could guarantee that there will never be any kind of violent act or incident on any of our school campuses. Unfortunately, no one can provide that kind of guarantee. What we can do – and are doing – is continuously work to modify, improve and enhance trainings and security measures so our campuses are as safe as possible and our staff and students are as prepared as possible to address a safety threat on their campuses.


     New this year, PSUSD has partnered with Safe Kids Inc., a team of law enforcement and education experts, who have developed a curriculum that teaches threat response to our students in a non-threatening manner. During the past few months, all of our elementary teachers and some of our middle school teachers have received training on the H.E.R.O. program (Hide! Escape! Run! Overcome!), following parent information meetings. These teachers are now in the process of presenting their students with the safe-thinking skills and empowerment strategies they need through age-appropriate games, stories, classroom discussions, journaling and student-parent discussion. The remainder of our middle school, along with high school and early childhood education teachers, are being trained this spring.


    In addition to this training, we continually remind our students of the resources available to them – as well as to our parents and community – to provide assistance should they see or hear anything they feel might be threatening or suspicious. It is crucial that any type of questionable or perceived behaviors seen or heard about be reported through a direct message or conversation with a trusted adult on campus or law enforcement rather than social media postings or texting to friends or relatives that can perpetuate unfound rumors and create often needless panic. If you see or hear of something after hours or feel more comfortable reporting the incident or behavior anonymously, you can simply login to sprigeo.com and fill out a form which reaches district and school site administrators as soon as it is submitted. Reports are addressed as soon as they are received. The system can be used for perceived threats, bullying or other incidents that just don’t look or feel right.


    SafeHouse of the Desert also has a 24-hour anonymous hotline and phone app for teens struggling with drug or alcohol abuse, depression, difficult family situations, bullying or other issues. The phone number (voice or text) is 844-294-0880 and the “What’s Up? SafeHouse” app is available through iTunes App Store or Google play.


    We encourage our students and parents to voice their concerns related to safety or any other matter to a school or District staff member at any time. All shared concerns are taken seriously and addressed immediately in order to keep our school campuses as safe and healthy as humanly possible. Thank you for your continued support. 


    See you next month,       

    Sandra Lyon, Ed.D.

    Superintendent of Schools

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