School Safety PDF Print E-mail

Stewart Office Renovation

Mr. Dicks, Superintendent of Schools


The Washington Board of Education passed an improvement project at Stewart Elementary that will rearrange our office suite while also allowing the building to become more secure and safe. The night we approved this was the day of the horrific Parkland shooting that killed 17 people. We take school safety very seriously and while we were content in improving all of our facilities’ safety and security, Parkland reminds us that no school is immune from something so heinous.


Jeff Brock is our long-time technology director and a person who knows our facilities better than a lot of people. In addition to the Stewart project, I have directed Jeff to solicit input on each of our buildings and how we can make them even more secure. I have talked to many that have said, “things like this happen in other places” but we will not take that approach. We will do everything that we can to keep our students and staff safe.


I have also fielded a lot of questions about our procedures and protocols in the event of an intruder. All of our buildings have worked with local law enforcement on proper protocols on how to keep our buildings safe, and how to handle an intruder. We don’t share out our plans in much detail for fear of the procedures falling into the hands of the wrong people. Our building principals have done some preliminary drills and pieces of training with most of our staff and the procedures we use in the event of an intruder. We will be increasing our discussions and in some cases training/drills to ensure that staff becomes more and more aware of the procedures.


For students, the conversation is all about age appropriateness and how much we discuss and share. Our goal is to provide a nurturing and safe place for students and not put alarm into their developing minds. That conversation can be difficult.


We will not ignore the changing world around us. While I hope and pray that this event will never occur in Washington, let alone Iowa, we will take every precaution to keep our kids safe. There are many products that are coming to the front of this discussion and we will evaluate what is best for each situation.


The community can be a great help by continuing to be supportive of the district. It is appropriate to have discussions with your students to report anything they might feel is unusual. I call it the squint test, if when you hear something you begin to squint, students need to talk to an adult at school, typically the principal. It is also helpful if students and parents refrain from propagating on social media, criticize, post/repost false information, but instead get in direct contact with the district and report suspicious or concerning things.


Thank you for your continued support to ensure that our schools are safe and secure.



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