A Message from Superintendent Regarding School Safety

Last Updated on Feb 23, 2018 at 3:24pm

A Message from Superintendent Barbara L. Baker: School Security and Safety


Since the tragic events last week in Parkland, Florida, school districts across the country have seen an
increase in threats and reports of threats to the safety of our students and staff. Unfortunately, Garrett County
Public Schools is no different. These events have prompted questions and concerns about our ongoing work
to ensure that every single child and adult in our buildings and on school campuses remains safe from harm.
I want to reassure each parent, community member, teacher and employee that I consider the safety and
security of Garrett County Public Schools to be of the highest priority.

Because there is no way to guarantee that a tragedy like the one in Florida will not happen here, I want to
share with you the safety measures that we employ in order to prevent something from ever happening in our
community. Not only must each school have an emergency plan in place, faculty and staff must practice a
variety of safety drills with students throughout the school year. In addition, School Resource Officers are
positioned in our secondary buildings and also serve the elementary feeder schools as well. This helps
students build a positive relationship with law enforcement and fosters a climate of trust and respect.
Furthermore, all buildings and school buses are under video surveillance and each building is equipped with
a secure access control entry system. Yesterday, I met with school principals and central office
administrators to discuss concerns and ways in which we can continue to improve our internal and external
safety procedures. Finally, the Director of Facilities, Maintenance, Operations, and Security participates in a
weekly conference call with the Maryland Center for School Safety to collaborate on statewide efforts to
keep us safe.

In addition to our preventative measures, we also concentrate our efforts to respond should an emergency
occur. Garrett County Schools works in partnership with the Garrett County Sheriff’s Office to prepare our
administrators, teachers, and students to respond effectively in an emergency. Earlier this year my
administrative team and I met with Sheriff Corley and his team to outline ways in which we could improve
school safety on several levels. I have reached out to him again in light of recent events to possibly
coordinate and improve our communication. Tragic events prompt us to re-evaluate our practices to ensure
that we are doing everything possible to secure the safety and well being of our students.
 
It is only natural for some students to be troubled by the events in Florida, social media posts, or discussions
of threats in our schools. Each one of us plays a role in the safety of our children, our schools, and our
community. If your child is experiencing fear or anxiety, I encourage him or her to reach out to a school
counselor, a teacher, the principal, or the School Resource Officer. Also, please be observant and let
someone know if you see or hear something that makes you uncomfortable, nervous, or afraid. Each and
every threat that is brought to our attention is investigated in cooperation with law enforcement. When a
threat or potential threat is identified, we will issue a press release that provides as many details as allowed.
If you have not already done so, please visit our website and sign up for email alerts. On the right-hand side
of the page, you will see “Stay Connected.” This will help ensure that you have the latest information.
 
Thank you for your support of Garrett County Schools. We will continue to work through these troubled
times to ensure the best and safest education for the each and every student in our care.
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