By Mike De Felice
Kitsap News Group
PORT ORCHARD – In the aftermath of Tuesday’s elementary school shooting massacre in Uvalde, Texas, that left 19 children and two teachers dead, South Kitsap School District’s superintendent reached out to school families today to inform them about actions the district has taken to help guard against such a tragedy from taking place here.
“Our hearts are heavy as we learn about the tragedy in Texas,” Superintendent Tim Winter wrote. “It is sickening to hear of yet another senseless act of violence that has taken the lives of children and educators. It is unfathomable to imagine what the Uvalde community is experiencing.”Whenever there is a report of school violence, Winter said, there are heightened concerns about SKSD schools. In his letter to parents, students and staff, he explained how the district prepares for such incidents.
“Each year our schools perform emergency preparedness drills and refine their practice in the hopes that the training will never be utilized. Safety training and support is coordinated by the district Department of Safety, Security, and Emergency Management. In addition, South Kitsap School District has a Threat Assessment Team that provides support and resources for struggling students.”
Winter said the district strives to find a balance between building a culture where students and staff feel safe at school while ensuring they know how to react if faced with an actual violent situation.
Keeping lines of communication open between children and the family is important, Winter emphasized.
“Please continue to keep communication flowing in your family. Remind students that school is a safe place and to always speak up if they see or hear something of concern. Urge students to speak to a trusted adult or use the district tip line to make a report,” he said.
Reports of concerning behavior can be made at skschools.org/logins/tip-line.