NHS Principal Writes in Response to Sandy Hook Shootings
Editor's note: This is a message from Mr. Will Bishop was first published in the school's "Blue Devil Bulletin."
Dear Norcross High School Family,
Over the weekend I watched the news coverage about Friday's incident in Connecticut with disbelief and great sadness. It was a senseless, tragic act that has touched the nation. Obviously, this incident has elevated the focus on safety and security at and around schools for all of us.
I want to reassure you that our school has been working on safety as routine business for years, knowing that a safe environment is essential to student learning. In Gwinnett County Public Schools, our plans are to continue the important measures that have kept our schools safe in the past, and to work to refine, add, and enhance programs to ensure safe schools in the future.
At our school, we have a comprehensive safety plan, designed specifically for our facility, to ensure that students are able to learn in a safe and secure environment. The plan includes processes, procedures, and safeguards in response to medical emergencies, natural disasters, intruders, and environmental hazards. We discuss and practice all aspects of the plan throughout the school year, including evacuation and lockdown drills. Our daily safety practices also require visitors to enter the school through the front door, sign in, and obtain a badge before proceeding to designated areas of the building.
In addition, during these final days of the semester, our schools are working with community partners-the county and city police departments-to increase security around schools. Their presence is a proactive step, which along with the presence of our SROs and our normal safety procedures, should lessen anxiety and concerns of our students, staff, parents, and community.
None of us can really understand why something like this occurs. That said, it is understandable that our students may be confused or worried by information they may have seen in the news media or conversations they have overheard. According to counseling and mental health experts it is important to encourage our children to talk about their concerns and express their feelings. Furthermore, if they watch TV reports or have internet access, view stories together so that you can explain what they are seeing and reading. If you should have additional questions on how to talk to your child about this topic, please contact our school counselors as they have a number of resources that may be helpful to you.
It is my firm belief that the best way we can reassure our students is by providing them with a sense of normalcy. At school, we will do this by focusing on teaching and learning during these last days before break. We live in a world that tests us daily when it comes to protecting our most valuable assets - our children.
Thank you for your continued support of our students and school. Working together we can help provide a safe, secure school where students thrive.