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Superintendent's Newsletter

      

 

    Dr. Mike Simpson, Superintendent

 


On Friday before Thanksgiving break, we had a first during my eight years as Superintendent.  We placed school buildings on lockdown at the recommendation of the Guthrie Police Department.  There have been numerous times where we have placed a school in a lockout condition but we have never reached a lockdown status until this recent situation. 

In 28 years of work in the education field, I’ve never enjoyed an environment where the school district and the local law enforcement agencies maintained a better relationship than what we have established in Guthrie.  Maintaining a safe atmosphere for effective instruction is the top goal each day.  As a district, we have made a commitment few school districts have made with regard to safety.  In addition to having four dedicated School Resource Officers, we employ off-duty officers during school hours at all other school sites.  These officers are much more than simply a security guard.  You will see them interacting with our students and staff as they become a part of our family.  Some of them even have their own children in our schools.  Protecting our students is much more than an “assignment” for our School Safety Team.

The events of November 22nd were very fluid at the time.  Buildings were placed on lockout or lockdown based on the threat as the law enforcement agencies recommended.  This decision was driven by the known location and risk of the potential threat.  Decisions had to be made regarding transportation of students throughout the district since only half of our buildings with students were affected.  This provides the difficult decision of holding our transportation district wide since that was the only realistic option.  The concern about the safety of parents who were waiting to pick up their children at a school on lockdown was also considered.  It is important to note that any school which is in a lockdown condition cannot allow anyone in or out of the building.  Another factor making the situation more difficult was the Administration Building had also been placed on lockdown.  This requires all staff in our building to leave their desks and go to a designated safe location in the building.  Safety for students and staff will always be the first priority.  Accurate communication will follow as soon as possible afterward. 

The lockdown was lifted at approximately 3:00 p.m. and dismissal followed with some delays due to the need of avoiding the area closed by law enforcement.  An automated call was initiated soon after the lockdown was lifted to all parents in the district about the event.  One of the most challenging parts to using our automated calling system is the burden it places on our staff following the deployment of such a call.  The system is designed to leave a voice message if the phone number being called can accept such a message.  Instead of listening to the message, many parents simply call the number back which overwhelms our phone system.  I watched our staff members take one call after another for over an hour from people who had received the call and called the number back.

The first day back from Thanksgiving break, a de-brief was held with our administrative team and the Guthrie Police Department so we could discuss what went well and what should be refined if a lockdown were to occur in the future.  The meeting was productive and affirmed that established protocols were followed.  Students and staff are to be applauded for their efforts in carrying out the procedures we have worked so hard to establish.  Our children’s safety will continue to be the top focus of our district every day.   

 

Follow this link to view the Guthrie Public Schools Response Protocol 

 

Previous Newsletters:

 

September 2012 October 2012 November 2012 December 2012 January 2013 February 2013 March 2013  
April 2013 May 2013 June 2013 July 2013 August 2013 September 2013 October 2013  
November 2013 December 2013 January 2014 February 2014 April 2014 May 2014 August 2014  
October 2014 December 2014 January 2015 March 2015 April 2015 June 2015 July 2015  
August 2015 September 2015 October 2015 November 2015 January 2016 March 2016 April 2016  
June 2016 July 2016 August 2016 October 2016 November 2016 December 2016 February 2017  
May 2017 August 2017 November 2017 February 2018 April 2018 August 2018 October 2018  
December 2018 January 2019 February 2019 March 2019 May 2019 July 2019 September 2019