Last spring, I asked The Office of Domestic Preparedness of the Van Buren County Sheriff’s Department to come out to our school district to conduct a full safety audit of Gobles Public Schools. The auditor looked at a number of the elements that make for a safe and secure campus. I was glad to hear from him that we are doing everything that we can do at this point in time to make sure Gobles schools are safe for students and for the learning environment we all expect.
The auditor did make some recommendations about ways we could improve our physical facilities and the security technologies we use, and in the coming weeks and months you’re going to hear in great detail how those recommendations have been incorporated into a facilities and technology upgrade proposal which we will be asking the community to support in May, 2014.
Then last week, we had a reminder about why safe and secure school facilities are so important. When we received news that the police were involved in a manhunt in areas that border the community of Gobles, we chose to take voluntary steps to provide for maximum safety and security for our students. We did not take these steps because there was a threat to our students, but because we will always choose the side of caution and safety when it comes to the well-being of our students.
The lockdown drill last Thursday will be used as an opportunity to continuously improve our safety and security procedures and communication practices in both buildings, something we have always done, and will always do in Gobles. This is the same reason we run fire drills and tornado drills every school year. We learned again last Thursday, like last spring, that we are doing things right in Gobles, given our facilities and the technology resources at our disposal. We learned there are some areas we can improve.
I invite parents and community members to examine the details of the bond proposal as they are made public, and to offer any suggestions or input that you think might help us continue to improve in any area, but especially in the area of safety and security.
And when we put the facility and technology upgrade proposal in front of the community for a vote next May, it will be a chance for the community to support the facility and technology improvements we desire.
Gobles is and will continue to be a safe, secure campus for students, and a great environment for learning. That’s our commitment you. We also appreciate your ongoing commitment to Gobles schools so that we are able to take recommendations and act upon them, on behalf of all the students and families we serve.