Letter to the Community: Ongoing Safety Measures

Letter to the Community: Ongoing Safety Measures

Dear La Habra Schools Staff, Families, and Community,

We are deeply saddened by the tragedy that occurred at Robb Elementary School in Uvalde, Texas last week.  As educators, parents, families, and community members, it is difficult to comprehend such catastrophic events.  We feel closely connected to the children, teachers, staff, families, and community who are so devastated by this loss of innocent lives. 

In light of the recent tragedy, we understand there are heightened levels of concern regarding school safety in LHCSD and across the country. We are committed to the safety and well-being of our students and staff at all times. Safety is, and will always be our top priority. We have increased local law enforcement patrol on and near our campuses and remain in close communication with LHPD and Chief Foster. We take ALL threats seriously and deem them all as credible until fully reviewed with law enforcement and determined otherwise. We will continue to explore enhancements to our existing plans and brainstorm additional measures to keep our students and staff safe. 

LHCSD  has implemented the following protections over the years:

  • Fencing has been erected at all of our schools with one point of entry.
  • Visitor and volunteer management system (Raptor) to establish additional safety protocols on our school campuses and district office facilities.
  • LHCSD consistently communicates with the La Habra Police Department and Chief Foster to review and revise our safety plans, as appropriate. Our law enforcement partners receive continual training and have the latest information and guidance in this area and make visits to our schools regularly.  
  • Safety drills are conducted regularly at all schools for various types of emergencies including fire, earthquake, and lock-down drills for intruders and active threats where procedures are practiced.
  • Classrooms were outfitted with the 123 Lock-Down Latch so teachers and/or students can quickly lock a classroom door by simply sliding the lever on the latch.  This device allows staff to save valuable time and secure a door without the need to locate keys or leave the classroom. 

  • Implemented a See Something Say Something campaign at all of our schools with stickers, posters, and discussions to instill the critical importance of a team approach to reporting anything suspicious. Let’s Talk is a tool on our website to report any questionable social media post, conversation, or concern 24/7. Do not hesitate to report!

  • Partnership with Knowledge Saves Lives. An emergency preparedness company with combined hundreds of years of experience in the field of law enforcement, emergency response, and preparedness. In partnership, they have provided training to staff and will conduct training at individual school sites for Active Threat scenarios. 
  • All schools have safety plans and they are reviewed and renewed yearly.
  • In collaboration with the LHPD, we have a specific School Resource Officer (SRO) assigned to our District. 
  • Administrators, Directors, and Cabinet Members attend an annual Safe Schools Conference in Anaheim.

In traumatic events, proximity to the event is an important factor in predicting reactions from students and staff. In general, those closest to the trauma are the most likely to have experienced psychological harm. While this event was literally hundreds of miles away from our community, the media coverage brought it into our homes and lives. 

Because it is difficult to predict how anyone will react to a traumatic event, the best we can do is to be supportive and responsive to our children and their varied responses. Some students will have no reaction; some will be upset or anxious to some degree. In general, it is important to remember that the vast majority of students are generally resilient. However, some children may be more vulnerable and may have a stronger reaction and a longer processing period for this event.

We are prepared for a wide range of possible situations should they occur on one of our campuses. Each staff member is committed to keeping children and staff safe and from harm. We continue to have school psychologists and school counselors available to each school to help students, staff, and parents who may be having a difficult time coping with this tragedy. Our principals and staff will continue to be visible before and after school, and during the summer BRIDGE program.  

As stated in the communication sent on May 25th, we have several resources available that may be helpful in processing this news which may be useful as you talk to your child(ren):

In closing, please know that the safety of our students and staff is our primary concern and we will continue to work together to ensure that our LHCSD schools are safe places filled with learning, laughter, and building positive relationships with others. We again remind you if you hear something or see something, please say something immediately. Citizens can report concerns to the LHPD or 24/7 on Let’s Talk on our website at https://www.lahabraschools.org/for-parents/student-safety.  

Please continue to keep the community of Uvalde and the students, teachers, staff, and parents of Robb Elementary School in your thoughts and prayers. 

 

Respectfully,

Joanne Culverhouse, Superintendent 

Mario Carlos, Incoming Superintendent 2022-2023