GOSHEN COUNTY – In the wake the school shooting in Florida, Goshen County School District No. 1 Superintendent Jean Chrostoski reached out to residents to assure all the district continues to keep safety at the forefront.
In an email addressed to the GCSD No. 1 community on Friday, Chrostoski explained she recently returned from a conference with superintendents from across the U.S.
“Our major topic of discussion, and the thoughts weighing heavy on our minds, as is yours, is school safety,” she said.
Chrostoski told the Telegram while the national meeting, which included approximately 3,000 superintendents total and 18 from Wyoming, was not held in response to the shooting in Florida, Wednesday’s tragedy did become the focus of the event.
“After listening to other districts in the U.S., I feel very proud to work in Wyoming where school security is priority,” she wrote in the email. “Many schools elsewhere do not have secured, single entry into the building, video cameras available, nor do their teachers have an ability to lock their classroom doors from the inside. Our maintenance staff is dedicated to accomplishing this in our district.”
The district plans to take additional precautions and employ more preventative measures in the future, including announcing all fire drills and working harder to identify mental health issues.
“One fact that can not be disputed in all cases of school violence is that there have been warning signs. Are we listening to them?” Chrostoski asked. “The increase of severe mental health issues runs far and wide in our country and knows no boundaries. It was shared with superintendents this week that the only way … we can make headway in our society is for the school, parents, law enforcement, and other local mental health and social service agencies to work together to try to get help for those who need it.
“The schools appreciate those parents, staff, and students who step forward and model the mantra, ‘If you see something, say something,’” she continued. “It’s up to us as a district to investigate and respond to what you tell us in the appropriate fashion. Please hold our feet to the fire. Even though our response may not be what each individual person would like to hear, our obligation is to investigate it. And ... we cannot tackle this problem alone.”
All GCSD buildings are required to hold a safety drill each month. These drills include fire; lock-down – or intruder is in the building; and lock-out – the threat is outside the building.
“We have a crisis drill scheduled (for) April 4 for Lincoln and Trail (Elementary) to practice evacuation from the building and reunification later,” Chrostoski said. “We will be working with local law enforcement and emergency management.
“Even though we … had our teachers trained two years ago at the start of school about what to ‘look for’ and best practices, that will certainly need to be updated again,” she added. “We need to be prepared and not let our guard down, but we also need to research the ‘why’ as a community and society and spend time focusing on prevention.”