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Forsyth County Superintendent addresses school safety



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December 26, 2012
Forsyth County Schools parents and staff,

I want to thank each of you for your renewed commitment to promoting safety for our students in Forsyth County Schools. I know that you, like me, are hurting at the senseless act of violence that tragically took the lives of Newtown students and staff. Our thoughts and prayers continue to be with the members of that community.

While there is no indication that this is anything but an isolated incident in a state far from Georgia, we do want to take this opportunity to remind our families that all schools have detailed safety plans in place. Our staff conducts regular drills, including those for a building lockdown, and we have a check-in and screening check-in process for all visitors to the campus. We also have various procedures and tools in place that we cannot share because the knowledge would compromise safety.

Even with these measures, we know that FCS must continue to do more to create safe learning environments. If you have been to a school campus this week, you have noticed increased law enforcement presence not only from the Forsyth County Sheriff's Office, but from the Cumming Police Department as well as several state law enforcement agencies, that will remain through the end of this school week.

Additionally, on Monday I convened a meeting of district staff and the Forsyth County Sheriff's Office. We have determined three steps that we will be instituting immediately:

Establish a FCS Safety Committee that will be comprised of district staff and school principal representatives, as well as representatives from local and state law enforcement agencies and other first responders that will meet throughout the year to discuss and plan for school safety.

Begin conducting School Safety Audits to review operating practices and safety procedures, and provide recommendations for safety improvements.

Incorporate school safety needs into the district's Facilities Plan that will be conducted in 2013 to study renovations, modifications and technology support that support safe learning environments.

Additionally, under the leadership of Forsyth County Sheriff-elect Piper, we are increasing our school resource officers from seven to 14. We are thrilled for the expansion of this strong partnership, and look forward to continuing to work alongside these law enforcement professionals.

I want to encourage you to work with us as we move forward with our continuous commitment to promoting school safety. All visitors to our schools must check in and out using their driver's license, wear their visitor's badge while in the building, and only enter/exit through the main doors. Additionally, staff should wear their ID badges at all times, and always be aware of their internal and external surroundings, which includes keeping doors locked and children supervised, especially when outside of the building.

If you have questions or concerns, please contact your school principal or a member of our Safety Department.

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