Superintendent’s Message about School Safety

Superintendent’s Message about School Safety
Posted on 02/20/2018
safety first sign

Dear Parents, Students, Staff and Suffolk Community,


While our sympathies are with those directly affected by last week’s school shooting in Florida, we know our community is thinking about Suffolk schools. We remain committed to provide a safe learning environment for all of our staff and students. I’m offering the following information because you may have questions.


  • PLANS AND PRACTICE: Every Suffolk school has a crisis management plan approved by the Virginia Department of Education. All students, staff and administrators regularly participate in safety and lockdown drills to test their preparedness and understand their roles and responsibilities in the event of a crisis.


  • BUILDING SECURITY: At this point, most schools have locked access control systems at the front doors.  We will be accelerating the installation of similar security systems at the remaining schools. In addition, we are hiring additional safety personnel to bolster building security and visitor authorization. We also use a combination of mobile metal detectors and drug screening dogs at all schools to monitor what is being brought into schools.


  • PARTNERSHIP: Suffolk Public Schools has a strong working relationship with the Suffolk Police Department. This partnership allows school administrators and police to work together quickly and efficiently on threat assessments, investigations, and any other safety concerns.


  • COMMUNICATION: We commend students and families for coming forward whenever situations make them uncomfortable. We take every piece of information and every cyber threat seriously. Parents, be aware of your children’s social media accounts and what they are posting and reposting. Please also continue to encourage your children to report anything they see, hear or sense that could affect student, staff or school safety.


  • MENTAL WELLNESS: Student mental well-being remains a focus. Our students are managing more pressures, anxiety, and depression than ever. Because some students often make poor choices, our students need adults to help them. We are hosting several community presentations related to suicide prevention. Please see our website for the details. 


These are just some of the measures we have in place to promote safety and security as our top priority. We are relying on you as partners in this process to keep our students and staff safe.



Deran R. Whitney, Ed.D.



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