Violent events and threats over the past week -- locally, around the state and nationally -- have served as stark reminders of the risks to our students, teachers, families and community.
A safe learning environment for everyone in Lexington Two schools is a top priority. And so, you may ask -- as some of you already have -- what are you doing to keep Lexington Two schools safe?
Plan and practice
Even though we can’t share specific information about our emergency plans or safety measures -- not wanting to compromise their effectiveness -- you should know that at each school, our teachers, staff and students are involved in practice drills, planned in conjunction with law enforcement, so everyone knows what steps to take in an emergency. We have school-level safety teams in place as well.
Our safety equipment is always being assessed and upgraded, to include more cameras, a new keyless entry system and other features.
We are fortunate to have collaborative relationships with area law enforcement, including the Lexington County Sheriff’s Department, Cayce Department of Public Safety, West Columbia Police Department and others. They know our school safety plans and continuously review them. They are in touch with district and school administrators regularly -- sometimes daily -- to talk school and community safety. Their School Resource Officers watch over our schools and are a direct line to law enforcement agencies in any emergency.
We check out EVERYTHING
Lexington Two officials take EVERY threat to students, staff and schools seriously, whether that threat comes through a tip, conversation, phone call or social media posting. When we learn of a threat -- or see something that happens in the surrounding community that could affect one of our campuses -- we investigate it IMMEDIATELY, often bringing in law enforcement as well. We then make an action plan, which may include additional law enforcement officers on campus until the threat is no longer valid. Again, our strong relationships with law enforcement agencies are key in dealing with these situations.
How can you help?
Everyone plays a role in keeping our schools safe. Talk with your children about the importance of being aware of their surroundings and of reporting any unusual or threatening behaviors. Encourage them to share any concerns with school administrators, teachers, SROs or any other adult at the school. Please check your children’s social media presence, and again speak with them about reporting anything they see that might be unusual or threatening.
Feel free to reach out to your school’s principal, or to me personally, if you have questions or concerns. On weekends or after hours, if you feel a concern is urgent, please contact local law enforcement.
Dr. William James