Arrowood Discusses Security And Safety Of Hamilton Heights Schools

By: Derek Arrowood

We believe a safe school culture should be a way of life at Hamilton Heights. Safety is a shared responsibility that encompasses the physical, emotional, and academic safety and wellbeing of our children.

We have created protocols and best practices designed to protect lives and support all aspects of the safety and wellbeing of our students and staff while on campus. Our comprehensive and multitiered corporation-wide safety plan and coordinated support system addresses facilities, school climate, the social and emotional domain, behavioral and mental health and wellness, emergency preparedness, and crisis intervention and response. It includes collaboration with community, county, and state organizations; conducting behavioral threat assessments; and the implementation of a multi-hazard approach to prevent, prepare for, respond to, and recover from emergency/crisis situations. We have in-house trained safety specialists, created individual building plans and safety committees, have strong partnerships with local law enforcement, first responders, fire departments, hospitals, and other agencies who will respond to emergencies within our schools.

Hamilton Heights is not immune from incidents and threats of violence via notes, calls, and social media posts, or discriminatory and hateful actions. Statements and threats made towards a school cause a high level of fear for everyone, students, parents, administrators, and staff, regardless of the intention behind the threat; it is this level of fear that disrupts our learning environments and causes undue stress on students, staff, and families.

When we are informed about a possible threat of danger we take it seriously. We are fortunate to have outstanding partnerships with our local police and fire departments. We investigate all claims that we are made aware of in coordination with our local law enforcement partners. If those threats are deemed credible, we will take the appropriate action. However, if it is found that the person making the comments is doing it as a prank, a joke, or for some other reason, we will also take the appropriate action.

We work cooperatively with our law enforcement partners to use every means available to locate any individual who is responsible for these types of false claims or unsubstantiated threatening comments. Making these types of comments brings with them serious consequences and criminal prosecution.

The very best way to keep our schools safe and prevent acts of violence from occurring is to build relationships and keep an open line of communication. Be kind. Be alert. If you see something that doesn’t look or feel right, say something.

Thank you for entrusting us with teaching, protecting, and supporting your students. This is a privilege and a responsibility we uphold daily with great diligence and care. Thank you for working with us, proactively, to support student safety and wellbeing every day. #WeAreHuskies

– Dr. Derek Arrowood is the Superintendent of the Hamilton Heights School Corporation.