The following message from ESUSD Superintendent Melissa Moore was emailed to ESUSD families and employees on June 3, 2022.
Dear ESUSD Family,
As we wind down the school year, I feel it is important to acknowledge that anxiety and fear regarding school safety may persist within our community. In times of crisis, such as following the tragic school shooting in Uvalde, Texas, emotions are naturally running high. I want to reassure all ESUSD families and employees that we will continue to collaborate with El Segundo Police Department and other agencies to keep all students and staff safe. As a general reminder, I want to take some time to outline some of our efforts below.
Comprehensive School Safety Plans
Each of our schools has a Comprehensive School Safety Plan that intentionally states actions personnel follow to appropriately ensure the safety of students and faculty. In life, emergency situations may occur, so we conduct classroom and campus safety drills with regularity. The practice creates automaticity where students and staff alike know exactly how to behave and what to do to ensure we remain safe. We enact fire drills, earthquake drills, secure campus drills, chemical/shelter in place drills, and dangerous stranger drills. Dangerous stranger drills, otherwise known as lockdown, specifically address the actions taken to address an imminent threat on campus such as a violent intruder or a rabid animal encroaching from the surrounding community. Students are explicitly briefed by faculty how to behave and what to do for each of the drills and this week, Center and Richmond Street School, El Segundo Middle School, and El Segundo High School have each scheduled a lockdown drill.
In the realm of safety, we appreciate the eyes and ears of our broader community as well. I want to thank those of you who have practiced See Something, Say Something and reported a safety concern to your school principal in a timely fashion. We will continue to diligently work with administrative teams to ensure our school safety plans are followed. Please know that our entire team is vigilant to ensure the safety of our school community is not compromised.
To further support our robust facility security upgrades that were prioritized in our Measure ES bond projects, ESUSD will move forward to re-engage with a school security consultant in order to assess existing protocols, maintain existing best practices and recommend any best next steps to further strengthen safety. In preparation for this security analysis, Center and Richmond Street School, El Segundo Middle School, and El Segundo High School have scheduled meetings of their School Safety Committees to further listen, review and research various suggestions that have been brought forward. The administrative representative from each site will attend a subsequent District Safety Committee to formulate focus areas for the security consultant to evaluate.
Mental Health Resources
We know that children and teens process news such as the Uvalde tragedy in different ways. Teachers and staff watch to notice students who appear to be struggling in any way, and counselors are available at each of our schools to assist students who may need some extra support. We strongly encourage any middle or high students to stop by the counseling office at any time. Elementary students will be connected with site administration if needed.
Whatever you or your family is experiencing, we want you to know that you are not alone, and that support is available at school and in our community. If you or someone you know needs help, below are some resources to help you or a loved one cope.
Tips for discussing the tragedy with children:
- What to say to kids when the news is scary (NPR)
- Talking with children about difficult things in the news (Fred Rogers Institute)
- Helping Children with Tragic Events in the News (PBS)
- Parent Guidelines for Helping Youth After the Recent Shooting (The National Child Traumatic Stress Network)
- Helping Children Cope with Frightening News (Child Mind Institute)
- Coping in the Aftermath of a Shooting (American Counseling Association)
Mental Health Support
If you or a family member would like help finding a mental health care or substance use treatment provider, please contact Care Solace, a complimentary and confidential coordination service provided by El Segundo Unified School District:
- Call 888-515-0595. Support is available 24/7/365 in any language.
- Visit caresolace.com/elsegundoparents and either search on your own OR click “Book Appointment” for assistance by video chat, email, or phone.
- If your child needs additional support at school, contact your school’s principal or counselor.
If you are struggling with fear or anxiety regarding school safety, I kindly encourage you to access the many mental health resources available to families and employees alike.
As we assure you that El Segundo Unified School District is committed to the safety of our schools and well-being of our community, we also hope that everyone will remain present and positive in the special end-of-school year moments to celebrate our students’ accomplishments. Our children look to us as adults to model courage and stability during challenging or uncertain times. Student promotions and graduations have already begun within our district, starting with our Eaglets in preschool this week and carrying through our high school graduation a week from today. I have notified the El Segundo Police Department of these special events, and the Chief of Police has assured me that there will be a visible police presence near each of them to provide further levels of security.
Due to the disruption caused by the COVID-19 pandemic, the last couple of years have been especially challenging for our children. Promotions and graduation are unique opportunities to recognize a significant milestone in our children’s lives. We are all looking forward to commemorating our children’s accomplishments safely and joyously, so please do take the time and energy to honor and enjoy our students’ hard work and the major academic goals they have accomplished.
Take care and be well,
Melissa Moore, Ed.D.
El Segundo Unified School District