Our thoughts are with the students, families and staff of Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School in Broward County, Florida, following the unimaginable and senseless tragedy that occurred there on February 14.
While no school district can be completely immune from such acts of violence, we would like to reassure you that ACPS is actively working on a daily basis to ensure our schools are as safe as they possibly can be.
In the fall, ACPS began the process of updating our emergency procedures, School Board policies and emergency communication.
ACPS emergency procedures are based on training provided by the ALICE Training Institute. The ALICE Training Institute is the number one active shooter civilian response training for all organizations, providing options-based strategic methods against an active shooter event. The new emergency response procedures reflect national best practices regarding options for action in the event of a violent incident.
These procedures are being implemented throughout the 2017-18 school year, allowing time for staff and students to be trained, to become familiar with the new language, and to practice using the new procedures and language through facilitated drills. In September, the School Board approved new terminology and empowered staff to implement the new procedures through revisions to Policy EB: School Crisis, Emergency Management, and Medical Emergency Response Plan (PDF), and Policy EBCA: Emergency Preparedness Drills (PDF).
The new procedures have begun to be integrated into emergency drills at schools. You can read more about the new procedures via the parent and guardian Frequently Asked Questions.
ACPS is aware that it takes a community effort to keep our schools safe. We continue to work closely with our partners in the police department, including our school resource officers (SROs), and the fire department, to ensure that we have coordinated emergency plans in place in the event of an incident in Alexandria. We also work on a daily basis to meet the social and emotional needs of our students and staff with the goal of identifying potential issues before they turn into a tragedy, and take any potential threat to our schools very seriously.
Finally, we know that our students are often our best partners in identifying potential issues. It is crucial to talk to your child about the importance of speaking up and reporting anything suspicious to an adult.
Keeping students and staff safe is always a top priority for ACPS. Thank you for your part in helping to keep our schools safe.