Community Letter in Response to Texas School Tragedy
May 24, 2022
Dear Ritenour Community,
In light of today’s horrific school tragedy in Texas, school safety is at the forefront of our thoughts. Unfortunately, we are again in the situation in which the senseless loss of life in a school makes us all question the educational system and society in general.
As we get ready to end the school year, please be assured we are taking the necessary steps to maintain a safe and secure environment for all Ritenour students and staff. We must also recognize that we must be prepared for any scenario at any time.
Our emergency response plans are based on the current best practices from both the national and Missouri departments of Homeland Security. We continually review these plans and update them as recommendations are shared with us from these experts.
I also want to assure you that our strong, ongoing relationships with local and county police and fire departments to prepare for and respond effectively to all emergencies, including active shooters. Our school resource officers from St. Ann and St. John are present in our secondary schools every day and assist in our elementary schools when emergencies arise. We appreciate the positive relationships that our local law enforcement officers build with our students and staff throughout the year.
In each of our schools, heightened security measures that are in place every day include keeping exterior doors locked as well as interior doors, including all classrooms while students are learning.
Throughout the school year, our schools conduct regular active intruder drills where staff and students practice how to be safe if an intruder enters their building or school campus. We also conduct drills for emergencies such as fire, severe weather and earthquakes.
Beyond keeping our students and staff physically safe, we recognize that emotional safety is just as important. Our outstanding counseling staff and social workers are available to provide emotional and social supports to our staff, students and families. The team provides support, not only in times of crisis, but also on a daily basis to ensure our students have the emotional supports in place to be successful academically and socially.
Tomorrow and Thursday, your children will have the opportunity to celebrate a year filled with learning and building relationships with their teachers and friends. For our older students, it’s important that they finish strong to showcase all that they have learned, and say goodbye to teachers and friends who they may not see over the summer. For our younger students, it’s a time filled with fun activities that reinforce the positive relationships they made with peers and their teachers.
As the news continues to unfold about the Texas tragedy, we encourage you to talk with your children. We want to share a couple of links with excellent resources from the National Association of School Psychologists:
- Talking to Children About Violence: Tips for Parents and Teachers
- Tips for Teachers and Parents Following School and Community Violence (the last slide had additional resources listed)
Dr. Chris Kilbride, Superintendent