I was quoted as saying, “The case has been resolved, and we’re glad it is behind us.” And that is true. But I also think that it is imperative we learn from the past to make the future better.
In 2008, when the allegations in this case first came to light, the District took immediate steps to ensure that the acts and conduct alleged could never be true. The District didn’t wait until the case was resolved to make changes, as was suggested by the opposing attorney in the Tribune article.
Long before and since 2008, the District has reviewed its policies, procedures and practices to ensure that children are safe in its schools. This process continues today with regard to all kinds of safety and security concerns inherent in having over 10,000 students and 1800 employees interacting for 180 days per year. When you add in the number of parents and the public who also access our schools, the list of potential threats becomes vast. As a result, the District’s 3rd goal of the strategic plan states: The District will provide all students a healthy, safe, and secure school environment in which to learn. This goal also says, “The Board recognizes its responsibility to protect the health, safety and welfare of all students within the District. The Board is committed to ensuring that plans and supporting resources are available to carry out this important responsibility.”
This is why the District continues to provide various safety trainings. It is why the District is working to update its safety plan and it is why the District asks its employees to adopt a “protective mindset.” As you come to work each day, please remember your important responsibility to not only educate students, but also protect them and yourself from anything that could cause harm. Please be clear: the District will never tolerate harm of the very children it is committed to educating. That expectation can never be compromised.
Our community demands and has the right to expect that we provide safe, secure and healthy environments in which to learn. Thanks to each of you for helping the District to meet this expectation.
Take care. Be safe. Stay well.