Isle of Wight County Schools

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A Message From Dr. Cramer on School Safety


Dear IWCS Families,

Six days into the new year, the Hampton Roads area, and the country, were stunned at the news of a school shooting at Richneck Elementary School in nearby Newport News, Virginia.  What made this situation even more incomprehensible was the identification of the shooter as a six-year-old student.   I don’t think any of us can wrap our heads around that fact.  We send prayers to the teacher and her family, as well as the medical personnel treating her injuries.  Our hearts also go out to the entire Richneck community—employees, parents, and students—who find themselves grappling with this tragedy.   We know that children will process this news in different ways. Counselors are available at each of our school buildings to assist students who may need some extra support. We strongly encourage any students to stop by the counseling office at any time.

I understand your concerns about the safety and security of our schools, especially in light of this recent event.  When you send your children to school, you expect us to take care of, and to protect them as we would our own.  IWCS has several security measures in place to protect our students and employees, some more visible than others. 

As of a few months ago, ALL elementary, middle, and high schools in the division are assigned a School Resource Officer through the Isle of Wight County Sheriff’s Office. The SROs are official deputies in the Sheriff’s office who report to a school on a daily basis. All of our schools are equipped with security door access, where visitors have to be identified and buzzed in to gain entry to the building. Every school is outfitted with security cameras that can be viewed remotely by the Sheriff’s office.  Just this week we welcomed Mr. Jason Brinkley, our Security and Emergency Management Specialist.  Coming to IWCS from the Sheriff’s Office, he is highly qualified to provide the division with an enhanced focus on school safety.

Lockdown drills are part of a Crisis Management Plan that is in place at every school in the division.  Each school conducts lockdown drills several times a year and students practice for situations involving an active threat in their building. We continue to investigate additional safety measures that would provide more layers of security for all students and staff.

I strongly believe we all need to be more aware of things we see or hear that raise concerns over school safety. Parents/guardians, please pay attention to what your child has in their backpack or on their person before sending them to school.   We encourage students, parents, and staff to tell someone when comments, behavior or actions from individuals appear to be distressing or alarming and indicate a desire to do harm to others. Information can also be shared through our new anonymous online reporting system, ISLE Be Safe .  Parents, friends, and community members should also speak up and alert officials if they see something. We all must do our part to be vigilant when it comes to protecting our children and employees from harm. 

 

Sincerely,

Dr. Theo Cramer

Superintendent

Isle of Wight County Schools

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