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February 22, 2018
Dear EUSD Families,
No words can express the feeling of sorrow we have over the tragic school shooting in Florida last week. Our hearts go out to the victims and their families. While we, as a country, struggle with the aftermath of yet another school shooting, I felt that it was important to share the immediate security measures that EUSD has already put into place.
One of the three main tenets of our Proposition E facility bond measure was school site safety. Fences have been installed in all schools that were completely wide open and accessible throughout the campus. Fencing projects continue to be a high priority, with additional fencing projects continuing to ensure we have controlled access both on and off campus. Throughout our district, a new Voice over Internet Protocol (VoIP) telephone system is currently being installed as part of our network infrastructure and will provide us with the ability to have immediate communication with all classrooms and offices in the event of an emergency.
This year, our district rolled out our new emergency notification system which, through a few clicks on our phone messenger system, provides immediate notification of an emergency situation at any of our school sites. Key staff and parents are simultaneously notified of the emergency via phone, text, and email that we have on file. When the situation is over, immediate notification is sent out as well.
Additionally, last year our district trained all staff on responding to an active shooter scenario and it is now part of our annual training with our staff at the beginning of each year. Every school year, our schools conduct multiple safety drills for fire, earthquake, secure campus, as well as lockdown situations. The drills involve practicing the specific actions that would be taken during an emergency situation. For example, the lockdown drill will include the use of a barricade for each door. Our district also maintains a close relationship with the Escondido Police Department, which includes regular interaction and communication as well as planning and rapid response when needed.
This tragedy also highlights the critical importance of maintaining a healthy school climate and ensuring we are meeting the social/emotional needs of our students. Our teachers, staff, school counselors, social workers, and administrators are making our schools and classrooms safe and productive learning environments for our students. But we also rely on our students and parents to report any unusual or concerning activity or behavior. Please continue to talk with your students about the importance of reporting anything of concern. “If you see something, say something.”
Finally, if your students are struggling with the effects of this latest tragedy, please know that our school social workers would be more than happy to assist. Please call your school office for any additional assistance.
Luis A. Rankins-Ibarra, Ed.D.
Superintendent of Schools