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Superintendent's Message December 16, 2021 School Safety

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December 16, 2021

What is the district doing to keep our children safe?

Dear FPS Community:

Given recent events, both nationally and locally, some of you have reached out with questions about safety at our schools. We understand your concern and appreciate your questions. You should know that our highest priority is keeping our learning environment safe.

We are also aware of recent threats that have appeared on TikTok.  While not specific to Fairfield, we understand how upsetting this is to our students, staff, and community.  We are working closely with Fairfield Police and our School Safety Teams to provide additional support.

Our safety policy is available on our website and here:  3516 - Safe & Secure School Facilities, Equipment, & Grounds.  We do not share specific information about our emergency plans or safety measures, as that could undermine the effectiveness of those plans.  At each school, we practice drills that teach our students what to do should we have an emergency situation on campus, and we practice those drills throughout the year.

We work closely with the Town of Fairfield and Fairfield Police to protect our staff and students, and meet regularly to discuss issues related to school and community safety. We have a district-level safety team, school-level safety teams and School Resource Officers employed and trained through partnerships with Fairfield Police.  They are also involved in the review of school safety plans and provide suggestions for improvement.

In addition to consequences that may include arrest, suspension and/or expulsion, students who make statements or take actions that threaten the safety of the school may be referred for a risk-assessment prior to re-entry to school.  Again, our first priority is the safety and well-being of our school communities.  

Our focus continues to remain on promoting a safe, positive school climate and developing student connectedness. We recognize that threats to student safety may come from within our school community. Major research suggests that those most at risk for violence are students who may be alienated, disconnected, or marginalized from our school community. We know that the pandemic has exacerbated many of these issues.  We also know that early identification for prevention and intervention is a key to supporting students who may be at risk. As a district, we are committed to being as proactive as possible.  We do this through the support of our administrators, school psychologists, social workers, nurses, school counselors, crisis teams, school climate teams, School Resource Officers, and educators.  

Remember, too, that you and your children have access to our districtwide TIPS Incident Reporting platform to report school safety concerns. This link is available on every page of our website under the Links menu at the top of every page.  If your concern is urgent, please call the Fairfield Police using 911.

You can also help by encouraging your children to be aware of their surroundings, the behavior of other students, and anything that makes them uncomfortable or just seems unusual.  Please encourage them to communicate with teachers, administrators, front office staff or any other adult at the school when they see or hear something that bothers them.  Remind them this is not “tattling” or “snitching”, it is a way of reaching out and helping others.

We also ask that you please stay tuned into their social media accounts.  Parent and caregiver vigilance and open conversations make a difference. For our part, the district uses a student safety management program, called Gaggle, which monitors students’ district Google accounts 24/7  for words, terms or images that may be an indication of a student at risk.  District Central Office staff and/or the Fairfield Police are contacted immediately to intervene if there is a serious risk to the safety of self or others.

Finally, we expect responsible gun owners to secure any firearms in the home in accordance with statutory requirements. Fairfield Police provides free gun locks at the police department to anyone who wants to come in and get them. 

If you have specific concerns about a school or suggestions for improvement, please reach out to your child’s principal. We are stronger working together to protect our community.
 

Take care,

Mike

Mike Cummings
Superintendent of Schools