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Letter to Billerica Community About School Safety

posted Feb 23, 2018, 2:54 PM by Tim Piwowar   [ updated Oct 30, 2018, 9:07 AM by BPS Webmaster ]

February 23, 2018

 

Members of the Billerica Community:

 

As we prepare for our students to return to school Monday, we are all still processing the tragic events that took place on February 14 at Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School in Parkland, Florida.  Our hearts break for the families and friends of the victims, and our minds naturally turn to worrying about the vulnerability of our own children at home and in school. 

 

For all of us, the safety and security of our children is of the utmost importance.  This is why, for many years now, the Billerica Public Schools, the Billerica Police Department, the Billerica Fire Department, and the Middlesex District Attorney’s Office have been working together to ensure that we have safety and emergency response plans in place to respond to any crisis.  These plans are reviewed and updated regularly, and we are proud of the strong working relationship that we have among all these agencies working together.  This includes our community-based justice meetings where schools, public safety officials, and the DA’s office share information to make sure that vulnerable children do not “fall through the cracks.”

 

As part of emergency response plans, we have implemented the ALICE Protocol in all of our schools in the event of an active shooter.  We have conducted these drills on an annual basis since 2015, and we are constantly working to improve our response.  For those schools that have not yet had drills this year, they will be conducted during the week of March 5, and more information will be forthcoming from building principals.

 

Although these drills are important, it is essential that we also make sure that we create warm and welcoming environments that value the worth and significance of each member of our school community.  This focus on the social and emotional health of our students has been a cornerstone of our work over the past few years, and programs like our Adopt-A-School program with patrol officers are designed to allow students to regularly see police officers as positive role models.   When students have positive relationships with their peers, their schools, and their community, the likelihood of violent behavior drops dramatically.

 

We know that it is easy to be consumed by fear after the events of Parkland.  But we also know that we cannot let this fear dominate our thinking to the point that it destroys what makes our schools such an important place of warmth, growth, and happiness in our children’s lives.  

 

Every day that our students are in schools, there are hundreds and hundreds of adults  that work to ensure their safety – teachers, nurses, social workers, paraprofessionals, custodians, secretaries, cafeteria workers, administrators, police officers, firefighters, and many, many more.  We are proud of the work that they do every day, and know that your children are in good hands under their care.

 

Timothy G. Piwowar                                                     John C. Curran                                   Daniel C. Rosa                   

Superintendent of Schools                                          Town Manager                                    Chief of Police

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Tim Piwowar,
Feb 23, 2018, 2:54 PM