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School Safety- Messages from Dr. Hansen and Dr. Roe

School Safety- Messages from Dr. Hansen and Dr. Roe
Posted on 02/27/2018
Safety is Everybody's BusinessA message from Dr. David Hansen...

"Hello, this is Riverside Unified School District Superintendent Dr. David Hansen. While this is an emotional time for our community and the nation, it is imperative to remind our students and families that RUSD has zero tolerance for direct or implied threats of violence to another student, an employee, or a school site.

In light of recent acts of violence that have occurred across our country, parents, we ask that you sit down with your children and remind them that any verbal statement, written message or social media post related to guns, bombs, weapons or any other acts of violence in the schools, even in an attempt at humor, will be investigated thoroughly by police, and may subject the student to arrest and or expulsion.

Please also remind them that if they see, hear or read something that may be a sign of danger, including things seen on social media, they should immediately share the information with their school Principal, Counselor or a trusted adult at school.

RUSD does not condone any behavior that disrupts the safe educational environment that we work so hard to ensure for our students, teachers and staff.

Your child’s safety is our highest priority, so please help us by speaking with your children about responsible decision making.  In addition to this message, all students and staff will be reviewing a video at school this week that outlines all of this information in further detail.

Thank you for your strong partnership in our pursuit of making our schools as safe as possible.

A message from Dr. Michael Roe...

Poly Bears,

I wanted to take a moment and thank the entire Poly community for the outpouring of support we received on February 22nd. 

We fully understand the gravity and emotions associated with that day's perceived threat to our school, but wish to extend a sincere thank you for your support in this challenging endeavor.  Poly students showed a great deal of maturity and resilience in conjunction with their learning and engaged in some meaningful conversations with their teachers.

As shared prior, the perceived threat was not credible and appropriate steps will continue to be taken to maintain our school’s public safety.  As shared with Poly students and staff yesterday, a key component in assisting our entire community is the social responsibility of, “if you see something or hear something, you should report it” so that the concern can be investigated to protect all involved.

On February 21st, we had over 500 reports from parents, students and alumni regarding the social media post.  This kind of outreach, concern and caring for one another is truly extraordinary.  It is also one of the best tools we can use to keep our students’ safe.

Throughout the days leading up to the perceived threat, we have been speaking in classrooms and with individual student leaders on what we can do to prevent the unthinkable as well as proactive measures we can take to connect more with one another and build a more caring and empathetic community.  These conversations in classrooms were incredibly humbling as it was difficult for me to separate the Father in me and my role as a Principal.

I shared with the students a story about my daughter Riley who is currently in 4th grade.  Over dinner she asked me, “Dad, do all of your classrooms have fire extinguishers in them?”

I responded carefully, “Most of them do but some are located in our hallways.  Why do you ask?” 

Her response was humbling and illustrative of the times we now encounter.  She went on to explain to me that they were taught in school that if a “Bad Man” were to come into their classroom with a weapon, she was to grab the fire extinguisher and spray them to stay alive.  My daughter is nine. 

My son Mowgli – 1st grade – can explain in full detail his escape route in case of a school intruder.  He is seven.

Not only do I understand the heavy weight of engaging our community in this difficult conversation, I am overwhelmed with resonance that I must have these difficult conversations with my young children – especially at their tender age.

We have been hit hard as a community – from Vegas to Florida – our students are feeling a level of vulnerability that is difficult to comprehend.  To hear from their principal – from their parents – that we are living in a current reality where they have to be hyper-alert about their safety and well-being is a massive blow to what should be the norm – that whether they are at the mall, theater or school – they have a right to feel safe.

As we embark into the future and work as community to address the things that we can control, the reality is that the safety of our students and staff is a responsibility that falls on all of us.  This became clearly evident last night when we received the outpouring of notifications from our community who shared their concern and support.  This is what makes us a community – looking out for one another. 

The level of moral courage our students shared last night and throughout the day, is the very reason why I am incredibly hopeful that we can shift this dialogue and current reality into the kind of world our kids (and theirs) deserve. Our students at Poly give me great hope that our best days are yet ahead. 

In the next coming days and weeks, we will be seeking your counsel, input and feedback as we collectively tackle one of the biggest issues of our time.

I want to thank the Riverside Police Department and the overwhelming district support we received.  As we move forward in the coming weeks, we will continue working directly with students and staff on what to do in the event of a crisis.  As important, we will spend time on the “small” things – such as gratitude, trust, compassion and empathy.

We will get through this as a community.

A video message shared with Poly students...

Video Message from RUSD and Dr. Hansen

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