February 15, 2018—This morning, our hearts go out to the students, families and staff of Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School in Broward County, Florida. The unimaginable tragedy that occurred there Wednesday reminds us that no community is immune from the senseless violence that strikes our society with alarming frequency. Students, families, teachers and other school employees throughout our nation are rightfully concerned for their safety.
In the Shaker Schools, our security staff works closely with our partners in the Shaker Heights Police Department to ensure that our staff and our students know what to do in an emergency. We will continue to work with police on preventative measures, such as random searches of lockers and safety protocols, to deter students from bringing contraband into our buildings. Further, our students are often our best partners in safety: they know that when they see something suspicious, it's crucial to say something to an adult in charge. Most important, our staff works to meet the social and emotional needs of our students with the goal of identifying potential trouble before it turns into a tragedy.
Wednesday’s school shooting was the 18th in 2018. Condolences, no matter how genuine and heartfelt, are clearly not enough. Schools, no matter how well-prepared, cannot stop this senseless act of violence alone. One year ago, Congress voted to block a law that made it more difficult for citizens diagnosed with mental illness to purchase weapons. This trend has got to stop. Our elected officials must give us sensible laws and policies that will better protect our children and adults. It is incumbent on all of us to demand that our leaders address this issue before another human being is harmed.
Gregory C. Hutchings, Jr.
Superintendent of Schools