16 Feb In Response to the Parkland, FL School Shooting
Dear Northview Public Schools Staff and Families:
Once again, our nation is reeling from another incident of school violence. Like you, we are deeply saddened
and sickened by the horrific shooting that occurred yesterday at Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School in
Parkland, Florida. Our hearts go out to the families, victims, and everyone affected by this tragedy.
At Northview, our commitment to provide a safe environment for our students and staff is a daily priority
and we will remain vigilant in our efforts to ensure that your students are safe and well cared for each day
they walk through our doors. We have worked hard over the years to not only provide safeguards for our
students and staff if something were to happen, but also to prevent something like this from happening at all.
We want to share with you the efforts that we take to both prevent and safeguard against school violence,
and provide you with resources to talk to your students about this week’s tragic event.
Northview Public Schools continues to actively pursue our Whole Child initiative. This initiative under the
direction of Education Specialist James VandenHeuvel and Principal Dan Heitzman provides information
and resources to support the needs of the whole child, with a special emphasis on mental health. Our Mental
Health Team continues to provide education to staff, students and parents on issues such as substance abuse,
suicide prevention, and healthy life choices. Today’s students deal with a substantial amount of pressure
which can lead to stress and mental health issues. Our high school peer listeners, a group of students trained
to support their peers and provide resources to them, is also available and well used by our student body.
In addition, Northview Public Schools consistently surveys our students asking questions such as, “my
school makes sure there is at least one adult who knows me well and shows an interest in my education and
future” and “my school emphasizes acceptance and celebration of all students’ cultures, languages,
background, abilities, etc.”. We track the results to make sure we continue to foster a culture of caring and
acceptance at Northview. These preventative efforts have developed an environment in which students feel
comfortable speaking with an adult when they have concerns of their own or about other student behaviors.
If you would like a tangible, impactful way to respond to this type of tragedy, we encourage you to become
involved with the Northview Mentoring Program. If you have 15 minutes per week to mentor a student, we
can achieve our goal of having 100% of our students in grades 7-12 paired with a caring adult. Please
contact email@example.com or visit our website for more information.
All staff members in our district, including teachers, administrators, and support staff, are trained in
emergency response procedures. We have plans in place to deal with emergency situations and conduct
regular drills, including active intruder drills, to rehearse the right procedures and precautions. Our staff,
together with our School Resource Officer, works directly with the Kent County Sheriff’s department to
ensure coordinated approaches to school safety.
In addition to our regular security drills, our entire staff was trained in August 2017 in CRASE (Civil
Response to Active Shooter Events) by law enforcement personnel. We offered two additional trainings to
the Northview community in October 2017. We will continue to provide training and participate in exercises
(such as lockdown drills) as part of our comprehensive response plan. We are prepared in the event any type
of incident should occur.
In December 2016, Northview Public Schools partnered with Secure Education Consultants (SEC) to
conduct a complete security assessment of all seven of our school buildings. This assessment covered five
categories of security: environment, exterior, interior, policies and procedures and training and equipment.
We immediately began to implement the findings of this audit; installing and upgrading security cameras,
adding protective coatings at entrance points, etc. In March 2017, we also upgraded our phone system with
E911 capabilities. This upgrade communicates to law enforcement the exact location of a 911 call… right
down to the classroom, saving precious time during an emergency situation.
Talking to your student about school violence and security can be difficult. School counselors and social
workers are always available to work with you and/or your student on what to say and how to process these
types of events. In addition, there are resources that can assist you and your family. Some of these resources
are listed below.
Talking to Children About Violence: Tips for Parents and Teachers, National Association of School
In the Aftermath of a Shooting; Help Your Children Manage Distress, American Psychological Association
Discussing Difficult Situations with Your Children, National Parent Teacher Association (PTA)
In summary, I am taking this occasion to assure you that we will continue to be proactive in our prevention
efforts and in keeping our buildings safe and secure. However, we are always open to suggestions on how we
can improve. Please feel free to contact me at any time if you have questions or suggestions. Thank you.
Scott Korpak, Ed.D.