As students, parents, staff, and members of the Fort Smith Public Schools community, we continue to grieve with the families impacted by the recent shooting in Florida. Our hearts go out to the Broward community, and they are in our thoughts and prayers.
We understand that such events cause worry across our country as well as in our very own community. We also acknowledge that recent threats of violence have contributed to greater anxiety. Please know that safety and security of our students and our staff members are our highest priorities.
Some of the safety and security measures currently in place include:
Mandatory staff ID badges so that visitors are quickly identified.
Regularly practiced, mandatory emergency drills that include procedures for lockdown, fire, and tornado.
- Surveillance cameras at campuses and departments so that staff can monitor district grounds.
- School resource officers (SROs) who regularly train to respond appropriately (with force if necessary) to emergency situations.
- Storm shelters at all elementary and junior high schools.
- A well articulated set of crisis response protocols.
Our district is also developing plans to improve safety and security at all campuses. The district’s Vision 2023 Strategic Plan adopted in December 2017 calls for higher security standards in our district. During a series of five meetings in January and February, a Citizens Committee made up of 57 community members invested over 900 hours in the development of a millage proposal based on the Vision 2023 Plan. As a result, we are considering adding school resource officers. Additional safety and security measures included in the committee’s proposal are listed below:
- Secure vestibules
- Exterior electronic door locks
- Enclosure of remaining open-concept classrooms
- Alarm system upgrades
- Additional storm shelters
Please know that you, your students, and our staff are great safety resources for us as well. We have procedures and protocols in place to investigate tips or concerns, and we do take every one seriously. Please remind your children to report anything that looks suspicious to them and call us if you have concerns.
If you have specific concerns or questions related to a campus, please contact your principal. I trust them completely and know how much they care about the safety of their students and staff.