Dear Rock Hill Schools Staff and Families:

As you know, many lives were lost Wednesday afternoon at Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School in Parkland, Florida, at the hands of a former classmate. Our hearts go out to the families, victims, and everyone affected by this tragedy.

Just over five years has passed since we all watched in shock at the deadly incident at Sandy Hook Elementary School. Many incidents later, we are simply and sadly stunned at the senseless violence of school shootings across our country. While the reasons will and should continue to be debated, it is important that we – schools, families, and communities – continue to work together to prevent such incidents from occurring.

At Rock Hill Schools, we have worked hard over the years to not only provide protective procedures for our students and staff if something were to happen, but also to provide safeguards to prevent something like this from happening at all. Over the past five years, we have:

  • Expanded our School Resource Officer Program
  • Developed school-specific and job-specific Emergency Response Plans
  • Strengthened emergency response training and drills
  • Invested more than $8 million in campus security systems, including additional video monitoring systems in schools and on buses, alterations to school entrances, grounds, and driveways for proper access control, and new digital radio, signage and electronic parent/community notification systems
  • Implemented a staff/student identification system, with visitor, vendor and volunteer check-in and screening procedures
  • Required new online, video-based safety and security training courses for all employees
  • Received national recognition for our school safety and security program
  • Provided classroom emergency kits for all teachers
  • Established standing school safety committees and a district-wide incident command structure, meeting regularly, partnering with local first responder agencies and incorporating lessons learned from local and national events.

In summary, I am taking this occasion to assure you is that we have protective systems in place, we are prepared as a staff, and we will continue to be proactive in our prevention efforts to keep 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,

Dr. Kelly Pew