BACKPACK & LOCKER USAGE
High School Bulldog Families,
I trust your summer has been an enjoyable one. It is hard to believe school is starting in just a few days! We have been working hard throughout the summer to make sure this coming school year is a successful one for all. I know many of you have questions and concerns regarding the new locker procedure we are enforcing this year. I apologize for not communicating the reasons why we are taking this safety precaution and would like to share the background and decision making process with all of you.
Last April, the High School administrators held a safety meeting with the class officers due to the many safety concerns brought forward by our students. During this meeting, students were open, honest, and perceptive. They shared numerous concerns, raised valid questions, and offered solutions. One concern centered on bookbags/backpacks. Many students do not feel safe when students carry their bookbags/backpacks; especially when they are all gathered in one area. Overall, the students shared the same concerns expressed by many of our teachers and administrators. Please know the lockers are large enough to fit multiple items. Bookbags/backpacks will need to be unpacked and books will need to be stacked.
A safety review conducted as part of the Auditor General’s audit of the School District, supported the concerns of students, teachers, and administrators. During this audit, we learned students should use lockers to store their belongings. We will be issuing school locks for all of our students so we can have an accurate record of all combinations and the ability to access student lockers quickly if necessary. A concern of the auditor that stood out to us was the pile of bookbags/backpacks in the lobby during lunch. If an incident were to occur, High School staff would need to identify any item that is out of place in order to help first responders. Therefore, things need a place so we know when something is out of place.
While safety has been the impetus for this decision, other concerns have also been expressed. For example, when bookbags/backpacks are cluttering a classroom, it is difficult for both teachers and students to move around. Students are also required to use a locker during middle school and we would like to keep procedures consistent for our students. Additionally, as we plan to increase the use of one to one technology in the 2019-20 school year, lockers will be necessary to secure devices at times.
As we stated previously, we are aware some students and parents are concerned about this change, while others are very appreciative of the safety measures we are taking and have expressed their gratitude. I have invited many students to come in and talk to me prior to the start of school and have spoken to parents directly. Our message has been and will continue to be consistent to all stakeholders involved and there will be a learning curve for all of us. We are sensitive to the students’ concerns and we understand the uncertainty that comes with change. Please know the teachers at the High School will work with the students the first couple of weeks to help them adjust to this change.
Throughout the year, we will continue to evaluate safety procedures for our students and staff. Student safety is always at the forefront of every decision we make. Please do not hesitate to reach out to me if you have additional concerns, questions, or suggestions. I look forward to working together as we navigate this new procedure and make this a wonderful year at the High School.