School Safety Update

In the wake of yet another tragedy, parents understandably have many questions about school safety.  School principals have provided information about school specific prevention and response preparations and supports for students.  In addition, parents and the community may find it helpful to know that the Stowe School District prioritizes student safety, following best practices consistent the Vermont Department of Public Safety and Vermont Agency of Education.

We have emergency operations plans, modeled after the Vermont Crisis Guide.  We practice with students monthly, alternating evacuation and lockdown drills.  This School Emergency Information Guide for Parents and Guardians provides useful information about school practices, the role of parents and ways parents can help.  The Stowe Police Department assists with school practice, and every drill is used as an opportunity to look for areas where we can improve.  Our practice also includes collaboration with emergency responders from Stowe, including activities such as tabletop exercises, planning and debriefing.  A team from across LSSU regularly attends the annual Governor's Statewide School Safety Conference and we participate in and regularly access resources from the state agencies on school safety, including debriefings of recent events in Vermont.  Emergency responders help us prioritize facilities improvements to enhance safety, and we test safety systems as recommended. 

In the future, we are planning to include an options-based response as part of our practice in Stowe schools, using the ALICE framework.  We have piloted this at Peoples Academy and Peoples Academy Middle Level and are in the process of extending the training to Morristown Elementary and the Elmore School.  Stowe Police Department has been an active participant in the work in Elmore-Morristown in order to prepare for implementation in Stowe.  

In addition to our site based crisis teams focused on emergency response, we work closely with community partners on prevention.  The Stowe Police Department, Lamoille County Mental Health, the Department of Children and Families, the Lamoille Restorative Center, and other community members and organizations work closely with us on identification of and support for at-risk students and community members.  Parents and students are encouraged to report concerns to any adult at school or the Stowe Police Department.  In addition, the Crisis Text Line provides free, 24/7 crisis support by text.  Text VT to 741741 to be connected to a trained Crisis Counselor.

I want to assure students, parents, faculty and staff that school safety is our top priority, and we will continue to collaborate with local emergency planners and our first response community to continue our school emergency preparedness efforts.

 

Tracy Wrend
Superintendent of Schools

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