TCSD Families and Community Members,
In the wake of the most recent school shooting in Florida, I wanted to assure you that we take the safety and security of our students and staff team very seriously. We commit, through regular and ongoing training, to ensure that our schools are places where students can learn and grow, free from concerns about safety.
Our district is grateful for a close partnership with the Teton County Sheriff’s Office and the Jackson Police Department who provide regular trainings for our staff. We also work closely with national school resources to ensure the training we provide is best practice and is consistent with national, state, and local recommendations.
Daily measures are taken to ensure our schools are safe places. In addition to locking the exterior doors, our staff train for a variety of crises that may be encountered from health issues, accidents, intruders, wildlife interactions, and weather related crises. We ensure our facilities are well maintained and all equipment is in working order. We have communication protocols and procedures that, in the event of emergency, outline how we will communicate with community responders and parents.
While it is devastating to think of a violent act being attempted in one of our schools, it is important to remember that our students, parents, and staff are our best line of defense. We rely on our entire school community to inform a school official if they are aware of any threat so we can thoroughly investigate, as we take all reports very seriously.
We also share in the social and emotional well-being of our community. Our staff care deeply for each student and work every day to provide the support necessary so each individual can grow and be life ready when they leave our school district. Our staff communicate with one another and individual team members are well versed in identifying, assessing, referring, and supporting students who may be struggling. We have community partners who stand ready to assist parents or students in need.
What can you do as a parent?
-Talk with your student about reporting concerns to district staff or law enforcement.
-Be aware of all surroundings. If something does not seem right, report it.
-If you have firearms or weapons in your home, please secure them.
-Listen to your student and help them process any concerns they may have.
-Model appropriate behaviors. Demonstrate healthy ways to express anger and relieve stress.
-Take an active role in your student’s education. Visit and volunteer at school, monitor schoolwork, and get to know teachers.
-Get to know your student’s friends and families. Establish a network to exchange information with other parents.
-Monitor and supervise your student’s reading material, television, video games, and music for appropriate content.
-Monitor and supervise your student’s use of the Internet.
-If you see something, say something.
On March 7th we are hosting a Parent Connections information night (Jackson Hole Middle School Commons 5:30 - 7:00 pm), where our community partners will provide information about supporting the health and well-being of our students. Sessions will include information on substance abuse, mental health, and safety. More detailed information will be shared as the date approaches.
In the event of an emergency, we will communicate and provide regular updates to you via our School Messenger phone/email/text system. Please be sure we have updated email and phone numbers for you on file and opt in to receive text messages (contact Charlotte Reynolds at firstname.lastname@example.org to sign up). As hard as it may be, it will be imperative that parents do not come to the building where the situation is occurring. In a crisis, emergency responders and staff need to secure the perimeter and focus on responding to the crisis, having parents arrive en masse to pick up students may make an emergency situation worse by distracting emergency personnel from responding to student needs.
Below is a website called Safe2Tell which has a variety of helpful resources. There is also a mobile app to anonymously report a concern. All reports are reviewed and forwarded for investigation. There are other links below specific to preventing school violence.
School safety is everyone’s responsibility. Thank you for doing your part to ensure our schools are a safe place where our students can learn and grow in a caring environment.
If you would like more information, please contact your school administrator who can respond or refer you to the appropriate personnel.
Lastly, I invite you to join me, the Board of Trustees, and our staff in sending our thoughts and condolences to every family member and all the school districts throughout our country that have been affected by school violence- including the 18 incidents that have occurred since January, 2018. These events are devastating and we remain committed to doing everything we can to ensure no such tragedy befalls our community.
Thank you for your support and trust in our district.
Gillian Chapman, Superintendent