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A word from Mr. Rich about school safety

Events in our nation are harsh reminders that we live in difficult times. Sadly, we have come to realize that what happens in cities far away could happen—even our small community.

So what do we do as adults? Do we give in to fear? Do we stay indoors behind locked doors and hope we will be safe?

The simple answer is no. We will work together to prevent fear from ruling our lives. We will look honestly at the world. We will embrace the joy of the world, but we will also prepare for its many challenges.

That is how we must lead as a school. We are charged with preparing students for their futures. That future cannot be built on uncertainty, threats, or danger. We are the beacon of hope and opportunity for children. We will show them the promise of our world. To do this, we will do everything in our power to educate our children in a safe environment.

So not only will we teach them to read and write and play and sing and do math, but we will teach them how to be safe, too. We will hold drills, practicing to face different situations. We will do our best not to frighten our students, but we will not shy away from this responsibility.

We learned on Monday that all of our training had been worthwhile. Everybody played their parts. Students followed teachers’ directions, moving to safe areas and remaining quiet. Teachers and staff led students with confidence and professionalism. They did their best to keep the children calm and comfortable. The police responded quickly and investigated the threat. . In the end, we were relieved to learn that our school was safe. And we learned in those tense moments that everyone followed our safety plan and the plan worked.

It is important that you know this is how we will behave in this uncertain world. We will keep our children safe. We will take every threat seriously and investigate each fully. We will always err on the side of caution and safety. The law is clear—any verbal threat or threatening action is considered an act of terrorism. School safety is not a joking matter.

So please join everyone at Central Valley and do your part to keep our children safe. If you see or hear anything, report it to school or law enforcement personnel. If you are unsure or have concerns, please contact our schools.

And finally, I would like to thank everyone for today’s outcome. As I said above, everyone did as they were trained. I especially want to thank our Central Valley families. Despite your many concerns, you let us focus on our highest priority—your children.