Dear Parents and Families,
I recognize that there has been some feedback and concern regarding the school safety videos that have been shown to all students and staff at our schools. I sincerely apologize for any stress or uncertainty that you may have experienced in anticipation of this activity. I do feel the videos are a vital instructional tool to help our students and staff be prepared should an emergency ever occur in one of our schools.
I would like to briefly share the purpose and structure of the videos. The SJSO worked with school district staff during the development and production of the active shooter videos to provide consistency of delivery throughout the district. These videos were used during a presentation by the St. Johns Sheriff’s Office (SJSO) and the school district on school safety. There were four videos designed to be age appropriate as well as a video specifically designed for school district staff. The videos instruct students and staff on ways to respond if there is an active shooter on campus. They include the “Always Rules” that have been posted on the district website at http://www.stjohns.k12.fl.us/schoolservices/safety/ and the importance of staying as calm as possible. Also on the district website are resources for talking to your children about tragic events http://www.stjohns.k12.fl.us/guidance/ if the conversation continues at home or in other settings.
Other elements of the videos I feel should not be shared as they were recorded in our schools, with our students and describe steps to be taken by students and staff. The need to keep them secure does not imply that SJSO or the school district wants to be secretive and not transparent. It does reflect our commitment to the highest level of safety possible and the need to protect our emergency operation plans. I want what each of you want, safe schools and well developed plans for responding to emergencies. I wish the need for these plans and activities did not exist, but in today’s world they are a necessity.
Please know your feedback is important as it relates to refining the training and information provided to our students and staff. I appreciate your continued support as we work to keep your children as safe as possible while in our care.
Superintendent of Schools
St. Johns County School District