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DVUSD Puts Safety First

February 19, 2018

Dear Parents & Guardians,

The tragic shooting this past week at a Florida high school is understandably concerning to all of us who have children in school and who work in schools. Some parents have asked questions about the procedures that our District and schools use as we work to keep our students and staff safe. I want to outline some of those procedures. Please know that not all details can be included, because providing too much information could compromise the safety measures that have been implemented.

For the past several years, Deer Valley Unified School District administration and facilities staff have worked together to complete safety upgrades throughout the District in an ongoing effort toward maintaining a safe environment for our students, families, and staff. Using funding from the 2013 Bond election, DVUSD implemented a multi-year phased safety plan that includes strengthening safety features inside school buildings, increasing communication capacity, and providing improved methods of campus visibility. Projects have included school office redesigns that better control visitor entry points and access to the school campus, door controls that allow remote access/locking, upgraded communications systems, and installation of security cameras. Additional projects will take place at several schools this summer.

At every school across our District, students, teachers, and staff practice monthly evacuation drills and quarterly lockdown drills. Each of these procedures can be used during a variety of situations. In addition, our administrators and staff regularly attend safety trainings. Staff on each campus is trained to conduct threat assessment investigations. DVUSD takes threats seriously and enforces strong consequences. We work closely with local police when an action may be criminal. District safe schools staff collaborated with the Phoenix Police Homeland Security Unit to review all of our school campuses and each schools’ comprehensive safety plan. These reviews have led to safety improvements.

DVUSD recognizes that students are unique and manage very complex life situations, both in and out of their learning environments. Because of this, we strive to provide a safe, supportive learning environment that builds not only academic skills, also provides social and emotional programs designed to promote interpersonal and intrapersonal values and civic virtues. This type of learning enables students to recognize and manage emotions, develop caring and concern for others, make responsible decisions, establish and maintain positive relationships, and handle challenging situations effectively.

Finally, DVUSD has an Anonymous Safe Schools Hotline for students, parents, educators, and community members to report threats, rumors or information of criminal activity on campuses or against Deer Valley students. This hotline is available 24 hours each day. Messages are investigated, and when appropriate, information from the Safe Schools Hotline is shared with local law enforcement. The Safe Schools Hotline number is 623-376-3262.

Maintaining safe campuses requires the efforts and ongoing commitment of everyone in our community, including students, parents, educators, and support staff. Safety is the highest priority of Deer Valley Unified School District. Thank you for your support as we work to maintain a safe environment at each of our schools.

Curtis Finch, PhD