Hillsboro School District responds to Florida shooting
Hillsboro School District Superintendent Mike Scott said area schools are doing what they can to prepare for the unimaginable, in the wake of a mass shooting at a Florida high school on Wednesday.
According to authorities, 17 staff and students were killed at Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School in Parkland, Fla., Feb. 14. More than a dozen others were wounded. The alleged shooter, former high school student Nikolas Cruz, has been charged with 17 counts of premeditated murder.
That same day, Scott released a statement to parents and students, offering his condolences and ensuring the community the district has taken precautionary procedures at its schools.
Scott reminded students to share information they find suspicious with a trusted adult, even if it turns out to be nothing. He also assured parents, students, staff and community members of the district's close partnerships with law enforcement and emergency providers who have assisted in planning how to properly respond if a similar incident were to occur in Hillsboro.
"We have plans and procedures in place to halt the incident as quickly as possible and keep students and staff safe," he said. In the event of an attack at school, students would be transported off-site to reunite with family members.
In the event of a school shooting, Scott said, the district would alert parents and community members through automated alerts sent to parents through the district's mobile app. Automated phone messages will be sent out to the families of students at that school and on social media, he said.
"Our preparedness and attention to safety is our strength," Scott said, "as is our ability to ensure that students, staff, and families are informed and aware of response protocols."
Mike Scott's statement, in full:
Wednesday, February 14, 2018 — We in the Hillsboro School District are shocked and deeply saddened to hear of the shooting that took place today in Parkland, Florida, earlier today.
I wanted to take this opportunity not only to share our sincerest sympathies with those impacted, but also to remind our students, staff, parents, and community members about the precautions, procedures, and notification methods we have in place to deal with emergency situations.
First, students are encouraged to share with a trusted adult any information that is concerning to them. Though information may be incomplete or may turn out to just be rumors, it is always best to err on the side of caution and if something doesn't' feel right—tell someone.
Second, we have very strong partnerships with our law enforcement and emergency services providers and have conducted a number of joint drills on how we would respond if a similar incident took place in Hillsboro. We have plans and procedures in place to halt the incident as quickly as possible and keep students and staff safe, while initiating an offsite parent reunification procedure so families can be reconnected with their children in a safe and orderly manner.
Finally, we have a variety of communication channels available to us to keep students, staff, and parents informed if a serious safety incident were to occur at one of our schools. The main source of information and updates will be the District website. An alert panel will be activated on the homepage and will direct people to the Safety Alerts page for updates. Messages will also be added to the website(s) of the affected school(s), and sent out as a push notification through the HSD mobile app. Automated phone messages will be sent out to the families of students at that school and, depending on the nature of the incident, may be sent out as a mass notification through FlashAlert.net and on social media.
Our preparedness and attention to safety is our strength, as is our ability to ensure that students, staff, and families are informed and aware of response protocols. Thank you all for your partnership in keeping our schools as safe as possible, and please join me in keeping the South Florida community in your hearts and thoughts.
By Olivia Singer
Reporter, Forest Grove News-Times and Hillsboro Tribune
Follow Olivia at @oliviasingerr
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