February 27, 2018 – In an email to Vine Hill School families, Principal Julie Ebert relayed the decision of SVUSD to not participate in the upcoming NATIONAL SCHOOL WALKOUT PROTEST at schools on March 14th, organized to protest the current gun laws and gun legislation.
The letter in it’s entirety is as follows:
Dear Vine Hill Families,
I am sure that most of you are aware of the recent tragedy that transpired at Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School in Florida. Last week, you should have received an email from Tanya Krause, the SVUSD Superintendent, explaining in general terms how our district and our individual schools prepare for emergencies. This letter is intended to explain our safety preparedness specifically at Vine Hill and to address our sites response to the March 14th National School Walkout.
As you would expect, our schools have a close relationship and partnership with local law enforcement and emergency responders. Our safety and emergency preparations can be categorized as follows:
All staff members are required to participate in safety training on an on-going basis. There are online courses that we must all take as well as monthly safety lessons that occur during our staff meetings. We also have professional development training regarding safety and we practice emergency drills with the children to prepare for natural disasters (such as earthquakes), fires, and lockdown situations (which includes both imminent and non-imminent threats). As part of our site Emergency Plan, staff members are trained in their role as emergency responders. Administration, as well as other key staff members, have participated in a variety of emergency related training’s such as suicide prevention, CPR, Threat Assessment, etc. The Vine Hill Staff has also participated in an Active Shooter Training with Scotts Valley Police trainers.
Our classrooms and offices are equipped with emergency resources. Each door on campus has been retro-fitted with the ability to lock quickly from the inside of the room.
All windows have the ability to be covered to prevent an outsider from having visual access to the interior. All staff have access to the necessary tools to shut off the electricity and/or gas to the school should the need arise and have been trained on how to do so. Vine Hill is also equipped with grab-n-go emergency materials related to disaster response and each emergency responder role. As of this week, we also have an AED, defibrillator, device on site.
The district has installed long-range radio communication at each site and Vine Hill is equipped with ample short-range devices. Each teacher and the office have both digital and hard-copy access to student/parent contacts and we have an established and effective telephone tree list; in addition, there are several means of mass or group communication, such as Parent Square, Constant Contact, the Bear Society Facebook page, and School Messenger, that can quickly and efficiently share information via text, email, and phone. The site updates the schools Emergency Plan on an annual basis which is shared with local emergency responders and law enforcement. It is our intention, to share applicable emergency information with you also via our site website; I will notify you when this has been completed.
For the day to day operations, I count on all of you to partner with school staff to help keep our children safe. We require all visitors to sign in at the office and put on a badge whenever they are on campus-including regular volunteers, family members attending parties, academic presentations, and parents who may be running a quick errand on campus. Additionally, as per district practice, anyone who volunteers at school, or drives on field trips, must be fingerprinted and complete the required district trainings.
In response to the recent shooting, and as a result of the many organized demonstrations, the site administrators met with district leadership and discussed the events that will be occurring on March 14th (the only known demonstration date that falls on/during a school day). Scotts Valley Unified schools will have a regular school day and will not grant permission to students to leave campus. However, SVUSD does support a students right to express themselves and therefore, there will be an allotment of time on March 14th that is set aside for peaceful, on-site, voluntary activities at the High School. If you have a student at SVHS, you will receive further details from Mr. Hanson. Because it may not be age/developmentally appropriate to address these matters with young students, neither SVMS nor the elementary schools will have a schoolwide activity. However, some of the Vine Hill teachers of older students in fourth and fifth grade may participate in a moment of silence and if they choose to do so, those teachers will advise you of this. Additionally, I am aware that some families plan to have their young students participate in some manner in a demonstration or activity that may affect their attendance on this day; I ask that you please follow our attendance procedures and call-in absences in the morning or properly sign your student out if leaving early.
Thank you in advance for your cooperation and assistance in keeping our students safe.
Vine Hill Elementary School Principal
*PLEASE NOTE: There had been an improper spelling of Julie Ebert’s title as Principle of Vine Hill Elementary School. The correct spelling is Principal. The mis-spelling was on the part of My Scotts Valley and it has now been corrected. In her original letter, she did not state her title, her title was placed on their for clarification by MSV.