Isaac Newton’s three laws of motion provided laughs and giggles for a gym full of Peter Kirk Elementary students in February.
Keeping students safe is a critical responsibility. The district and schools plan and practice safety and emergency preparation, response, and recovery. These efforts involve staff, students, and parents, as well as local fire and law enforcement departments. Here are some of the major programs intended to keep students and staff safe.
District Safety Committee represents all communities
The district safety committee brings together school administrators, parents, safety experts, law enforcement and first responders. This group meets monthly during the school year. This group advises the district on safety issues and provides recommendations for changes
Lake Washington serves students in Kirkland, Redmond, Sammamish, and unincorporated King County. As a result, this committee has the combined expertise of police and fire officials from four different jurisdictions. Those officials have the opportunity to share best practices between their departments.
Parents are represented on this group by two members of the PTSA Emergency Preparedness Committee. They bring a parent point of view to the committee’s work.
Drills prepare staff and students
Regular practice for staff and students helps ensure that best practices are followed automatically in an actual emergency. State law requires six fire drills each year. Lake Washington school district goes beyond the legal requirements. Three additional drills are performed yearly, including an earthquake drill and a lockdown drill.
These drills are entered into the Rapid Responder system. This statewide online system tracks safety efforts. It also documents school building information for use by first responders. Each school is carefully mapped, including information such as safety shutoffs for power and water.
Emergency communication system connects schools, headquarters
The district has a radio communications system in place to ensure that schools can communicate with the district headquarters and each other if an emergency knocks out other communications systems.
School Resource Officers protect and connect
School resource officers are full time police officers who serve in our schools through joint agreements with the cities or county. These officers not only protect our schools, they connect with our students. As they get to know students and gain their trust, the school SRO is often the person who students will confide in about possible safety concerns.
Law enforcement agencies know and prioritize schools in their day to day work. In addition to school resource officers, other officers who are not on calls spend time in or near schools, as time permits.
Hotline collects tips, information
The district has a toll-free anonymous phone line available 24 hours a day for parents, students, and community members to leave messages to alert a school or the district about a potential crisis or safety concerns. The number is 425-529-5763. You can also text that same number, or email firstname.lastname@example.org.
PTSA emergency preparedness committee coordinates school level support
The Lake Washington School District PTSA Council’s emergency preparedness committee consists of parent representatives from every school. It meets five times each year to coordinate the school level committees. These groups procure and store emergency supplies for their school and support the school in drills and emergency planning. Contact your school’s emergency preparedness committee if you are interested in helping in these efforts.
Counseling services expanding
Counselors can help identify students at risk. They provide help to those who might be on their way toward causing harm to themselves or others. The district’s guidance counselors and psychologists play different roles in supporting young people in our schools. The district has two full-time licensed social workers who will work with high school students who need help.