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Letter to The Editor: School Safety in St. Mary's

As we reflect on the tragic school attacks that have plagued our country over the last few weeks, the concern for the safety and welfare of students and staff in our schools is foremost on our minds.  We want to assure parents, students, and staff that school safety is our highest priority.

St. Mary’s County Public Schools will continue to implement safety procedures and take measures to enhance a positive school environment that promotes the safety of all students and staff.   Each school has a discipline plan that includes prevention and intervention initiatives as well as consequences for repeated acts of disruptive behavior. Bully prevention and response has been a part of recent staff training and is taught to our elementary and middle school students. Each school has a comprehensive emergency management plan that includes evacuation procedures and reunification plans for parents and follow up support for students after an emergency. Each school conducts annual drills for our emergency procedures to ensure that staff and students understand what is expected of them in an emergency situation. In addition, each school has pupil services staff that includes counselors, nurses, pupil personnel workers, and psychologists who work with students, families, and staff to teach conflict resolution skills, provide counseling, and link families to community agencies as needed.

We know that the schools cannot address the community safety needs alone.  We encourage you to talk to your children about their personal safety. Encourage them to report unusual incidents to you and/or to school staff.  As part of our partnership, I encourage you to talk to your child’s principal if you have questions or concerns about school safety, or contact Ms. Kathleen Lyon, Executive Director of Student Services, at (301)475-5511, ext. 198.

Once again, I wish to reiterate that school safety is my top priority in St. Mary’s County Public Schools and is a responsibility we take very seriously.  We must all work together as a community to ensure the safety of our children.

Sincerely,

Michael J. Martirano, Ed.D.

Superintendent of Schools

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