August 28, 2013
Parents and Guardians,
First let me say thank you for entrusting your children to the faculty and staff of the Fair Grove R-X School District. We believe that teaching your children is not only a responsibility, but a pleasure. We take great pride in the academic, social, and emotional growth that we witness yearly and enjoy watching as these young men and women become respectful, hardworking adults. It is that same pride that drives us to not only teach and help mold your children, but to care for them and keep them safe from harm as they show up at our door on a daily basis.
It is that same care and concern that leads me to my point in this letter. Over the past few years, and just recently in an elementary school in Georgia, violence has changed the perception of schools being a safe haven for children. Unfortunate scenes of school violence are shown far too often across this great Nation. These situations are unforgivable and ungodly to witness on TV, but would be more horrendous to deal with on a local level.
Let me assure you that the faculty, staff, administration, as well as the Board of Education, take the responsibility of providing a safe environment for your children as our number one priority. I would venture to estimate that if polled the community would place safety as their number one priority as well. Therefore, as a district we are constantly monitoring, researching, and visiting with other schools and parents as to how we can improve our campus security and limit opportunities for violent behaviors. Eliminating violence in our society may be a task way to large for us to accomplish, but in our opinion it is our responsibility and our duty to increase awareness and safety precautions in order to alleviate these opportunities in Fair Grove, Missouri.
I say all of this to provide a back ground for some changes we as a school district believe to be essential and even monumental when it comes to Fair Grove R-X school safety. As we proceed to the future our goal is to be able to place access controls with panic buttons at each building entry. Due to State and Federal Budget cuts this past spring, this project will be a little slower to come to fruition for our district. Nevertheless, we will not stand by and let funding be a scapegoat or a crutch when it comes to the well being of our children.
In conversation with our Board of Education, we believe there are some safety measures that are of minimal cost to the district, however would be very instrumental in providing more safety for our children. After considerable thought and conversation, the two most problematic areas throughout the school day deal with adult access to hallways and classrooms, as well as regulating student transportation. Therefore the administrative team and security office have been directed by the Board to review and revise our procedures regarding these two specific areas of the school day. Fair Grove R-10 School District 132 N. Main, Fair Grove, MO 65648 (417)759-2233 fax (417)759-7150
Far too often when we talk about school safety we automatically envision school buildings, guns, and strangers. Yet some of the biggest safety concerns for school age children come from being caught in the middle of family and domestic issues, as well as confusion at the bus pick up with children either getting on the wrong bus, causing parental panic, which is justifiable, or being dropped off to an empty home. The “what if’s” are endless when we look at the possibilities of children being harmed physically or emotionally without it being by a weapon or inside the walls of our buildings. Therefore we have determined that we must make immediate changes in regard to what we believe to be two of our biggest safety issues; morning drop off at the elementary, and bus passes in all buildings.
Beginning on Tuesday September 3rd…
our first day back after Labor Day, we will no longer allow parents to escort their children to their classrooms in the mornings, or pick up from the classroom after schools. Parents will be allowed to walk their children into the school and may be with them in the foyer of the upper elementary until the teacher’s line classes up. Parents that have meetings or need to visit with a particular teacher will be asked to wait in the lobby until the teacher can be located and made available. We are also asking that when you sign in with the school office and receive a yellow lanyard to please place it around your neck in order for those on duty to instantly be able to differentiate between a properly signed in parent, grandparent, or guardian, and a possible threatening situation.
These guidelines will not affect volunteers or parents that are at school for a meeting after the classes have made it to their respective classrooms. For some this may seem like a non-sense change, but to the faculty and staff on duty, that are trying to maintain a safe environment, as well as get over 400 children safely to their classrooms, this will make an immediate positive impact to the way we start our day.
Parents and or guardians, when they enrolled their child for the 2013-2014 school year, were asked to provide a primary option for pick up and drop off for morning and afternoon bus routes. It is essential that you update your child’s registration to include not only a primary drop off and pick up, but an alternative as well (Form Attached). Beginning Tuesday September 3rd, we will only be transporting students to those two addresses. In order to maintain safety and security on bus routes, we are limiting the amount of changes requested. After reviewing our policies, we have found that opportunities for young children being dropped at the wrong destination, or home alone increase with the timeliness of phone request. We also find that for safety reasons, approving such request over the phone does not allow us to maintain the quality of safety and security that you as a parent or guardian expect and deserve. Therefore, only bus change request will be allowed for emergency situations and must be approved by the building principal or their designee. Please be sure and update your child’s transportation information and make plans for pick up when your schedule changes or plans delineate from the regular routine.Fair Grove R-10 School District 132 N. Main, Fair Grove, MO 65648 (417)759-2233 fax (417)759-7150
As we continue to review our current policies and procedures, we will continue to update our safety plans in the best interest of all children. While this may be an inconvenience to some, please be assured that it is in the name of safety that we make these changes. As stated previously, eliminating acts of violence on school campuses may be challenging, however, eliminating opportunities for unsafe events to occur is a proactive approach that benefits our children and their education. Thank you for your understanding and continued support of the Fair Grove R-X School District.
Dr. John Link, Superintendent
Fair Grove R-X School District