Submitted by Kent School District
School safety is an ongoing conversation across the nation and students are speaking up.
Angelo Herrera and classmate Michael Tran, both Kentwood High School seniors, are two such Kent School District students speaking out on the importance of school safety and practicing safety drills and procedures.
Herrera and Tran watched a “Run, Hide, or Fight” video presentation at school with their classmates. The video teaches students and staff about what to do in an active shooter situation.
“It was really interesting,” Tran said in a Kent School District news release. “I got to know a lot about what is going on at the schools. I decided to talk about [school safety] because I want to walk around knowing that I’m safe.”
Herrera believes practicing safety drills and procedures is vital.
“It’s very important because being prepared in that way would help save lives…” Herrera said.
Safety is one of Kent School District’s top priorities and supported by local tax dollars. Keeping our schools secure and peaceful places for teaching and learning is paramount.
This includes following national best-practice safety measures such as:
• Fostering a culture where students and staff understand the importance of reporting suspicious activity
• Providing threat assessment procedures to school administrators and counselors assessing warning signs and how to address concerning behavior
• Training threat assessment teams at each school
• Practicing drills for lockdowns, shelter-in-place, earthquake, evacuation and table-top safety exercises
Local tax dollars also support the district’s 26-member Safety Services team including school resource officers, physical security enhancements, security cameras, visitor management and improving controlled access to campuses.
Our Safety Services team uses an approach of building relationships with students, which helps prevent incidents and minimize conflict. Helping one another and paying attention to students are solutions both Herrera and Tran emphasize. School safety is something they feel everyone needs to take seriously.
What can parents and family members do to help keep our schools safe?
We ask parents, guardians, and families to have ongoing conversations with their children about safety issues, including appropriate use of social media. This dialogue can help our students understand the negative impact threats, violence and cyberbullying can have on our students and their future.
What can students do to help keep our schools safe?
Build a “see something, say something” culture with your friends and school community. We commend students who have brought safety issues or threats to our attention.
We encourage all students to speak to a school counselor or safety officer if they feel they need assistance or if they think a fellow student may need support.
By working together, we will keep our schools and our community safe.
The Kent School District serves seven municipalities spread over 70 square miles of south King County. Its 42 schools educate approximately 27,000 students from more than 100 countries and speaking over 135 languages.