School Safety Message for WCPS Students, Parents, Staff
Superintendent of Schools Dr. Donna Hanlin's School Safety Message
Posted on 02/16/2018

Superintendent of Schools Dr. Donna C. Hanlin shared this school safety message with the students, families and staff of Wicomico County Public Schools in a SchoolMessenger call and email Friday evening:

Good evening parents, guardians and staff of Wicomico County Public Schools. This is Superintendent of Schools Dr. Donna Hanlin with a school safety message.

We are all deeply saddened and shaken by the tragedy that took place this week at a school in Parkland, Florida. We join others throughout the country in grieving for the victims, families and everyone affected.

I want to assure you that the number one priority of Wicomico County Public Schools is the safety of our students and staff, and we take this responsibility very seriously. Wicomico Schools works in partnership with the Wicomico County Sheriff’s Office to prepare our administrators, teachers, and students to respond effectively if an incident were to occur in our schools or in the community. Our Safe Schools staff members take part in weekly calls with the Maryland Center for School Safety and peers from throughout the state to develop and maintain the most effective strategies for school safety. All of our schools have crisis and emergency management plans in place so staff members know immediately how to deal with potential incidents. Teachers review these procedures with students, and drills are conducted routinely.

Since the tragedy that occurred in Florida, Sheriff Mike Lewis and I have discussed how the school system and the Sheriff’s Office could collaborate on additional practice drills for an active shooter incident. We will be working with the Sheriff’s Office and our own school safety personnel to review all of our crisis and emergency plans, and to continue practicing a variety of emergency response drills with staff and students. 

Incidents such as the one in Florida rarely occur without some warning signs. Please know that we always encourage students to share information with a teacher, counselor, administrator, or other staff member any time they become aware of threats made against another student, a staff member, or the school. Parents, please reinforce with your children how important it is that if they hear or see or read something of concern, they share this information with a trusted adult.

You may be struggling with how best to talk with your child about this tragedy. The National Association of School Psychologists provides advice online in a publication on “Talking to Children about Violence: Tips for Parents and Teachers.”

A safe school is the foundation of a positive learning environment, and we will continue to do everything we can to provide our students with safe schools in which to learn and grow. Thank you.