Friday, December 26, 2014

Insight - Keeping our children safe - By Michelle Libby

No one wants to return to work on Monday morning to discover not one, but two threats against people and places. Thus was the case on Monday morning in Windham. A little after 9 a.m., students were told to go to their buses and go home. 
Parents scrambled as the emergency notices, texts and phone calls started. Fear clenched the hearts of many, until their children had been returned safely to them. 

We’ve been following this incident as it unfolds and will continue to monitor as suspects are questioned and finally someone is arrested and charged with felony terrorizing. I have full faith that our police in Windham and the State of Maine have found this person and will prosecute him or her to the extent of the law. 

Kudos must go out to the RSU14 administration, teachers, ed. techs., bus drivers and students, who handled the evacuation with poise and control. The students have practiced these drills over and over. They know what they are supposed to be doing and to listen to their teachers. 

It’s tragic that this day and age we no longer worry about fire drills, but now we have to be concerned with code red drills and lock down procedures.  

I can’t stress how important it has been to the parents to get the notifications, to see Superintendent Sandy Prince’s Twitter messages and to read the notes. His first priority is to make the schools safe. He then communicates with the parents. He’s doing an amazing job keeping us updated on what’s happening.
One mother said she would never complain about being on the alert list that usually signifies a snow day. That was a crucial tool this week and continues to be a source people turn to. 

Some parents are upset about the lack of facts and information coming from the head of RSU14. They are demanding information before they send their children back to school. To that we have to remember that no one wants to see anything bad happen in our community. The schools will not reopen until the administration is sure students, teachers and staff are safe. 

Our job as parents needs to start with supporting the school district and the people we pay and trust to do the right thing. We must have faith in our trained police officers, who keep us and our family safe every day. And, we must know that justice will be served. 

For now, I hope you enjoyed the days off with your children. Hug them often and take the time to make sure they understand that they are safe.

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