Over the past several months, through these blogs I have shared ideas and tactics in use to transform our district to become a place that “brings learning to life for everyone” (our shared district vision). However, given the events from Friday at Sandy Hook Elementary School in Newtown, Connecticut, I would like to focus on what is at the forefront of all our minds: the safety of our children and security of our schools.
The most important part of any school district or community is its children. In them we see our future and also ourselves. In them we see a hope for a better world. Today I am putting aside my “superintendent’s focus” on learning and achievement and once again putting on my “parent” hat. There is nothing more precious to a parent than his or her children. No words can adequately express how we feel about them and how important they are in our lives. No greater bond exists than the one between parent and child.
I am heartsick about the killings at Sandy Hook. As humans we do our best to make sense of events that happen, but I find no sense in this horrific event. However, what I can take away from this is a greater appreciation for my own children and the children we serve in the Urbandale School District. It is my hope that as a community we will not only send our thoughts and prayers to the parents of the children who were killed, but also stop and cherish all of our children, regardless of anyone’s circumstances, and work to be vigilant in caring for and educating them.
Please know that as superintendent the safety and well-being of our students is at the top of my priority list. We have reviewed our safety protocols as a district with the Urbandale Police Department and will be looking to determine if any improvements need to be made to better ensure our students’ safety. At the same time, our schools cannot become prisons for our children and this creates a challenging dilemma.
As we navigate this unknown territory, strive to come to terms with such a devastating tragedy, and begin the long process of healing, I ask that we reach out to one another to provide support and comfort. We all have concerns about the safety of students in school and it never becomes more acute than when a tragedy of such magnitude occurs. To that end, the Urbandale Community School District will be diligent in caring for that which is most precious to us – our children.