The shooting at Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School in Florida has deeply saddened and shaken us all. The thoughts of the entire Montgomery County Public Schools family are with the families who are grieving in the wake of this tragedy.
I know that such tragedies can cause tremendous worry and stress and it can be difficult for parents to talk about this kind of violence with their children. To assist in these conversations, we have posted some helpful resources at this link:
In addition, school counselors will be available to help students and staff cope with the emotions and feelings that naturally occur following such a tragedy.
Additionally, many parents have asked questions about what we do as a district to keep students safe in emergency situations. I want to assure you that we take the safety and security of our students and staff very seriously. MCPS takes a multi-pronged approach to keep schools safe. First, MCPS requires all schools to perform emergency preparedness drills so they can respond quickly and safely in an emergency. This includes lockdown; shelter in place; drop, cover and hold; severe weather; evacuation, and reverse evacuation drills. More information, including videos, are on our website athttp://www.montgomeryschoolsmd.org/emergency/preparedness/.
MCPS also works closely with local law enforcement agencies to help keep schools safe and secure every day. Through the School Resource Officer (SRO) program, sworn police officers work with the school administrative staff and the school security teams to enhance safety on MCPS school property.
In addition to our preparedness drills and police partnership, we have made investments in infrastructure to secure the physical buildings. This includes access control systems and visitor management systems at all schools, as well as thousands of surveillance cameras installed throughout the interior and exterior of school buildings.
Most importantly, MCPS has engaged teachers and administrators who are committed to providing students with a safe and welcoming learning environment. These employees, in conjunction with security personnel, ensure that while education is our top priority, safety remains our first priority.
Dr. Jack R. Smith
Superintendent of Schools