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EWSD Statement on Safety and Recent Events

January 15, 2021

 

Dear Families and Staff,

 

The Essex Westford School District recognizes the weight and importance of our current national circumstances. As a public school district, the EWSD is a nonpartisan entity that is dedicated to educating all students about past and current events and concepts through multiple lenses and perspectives. We do so to encourage an understanding of our community and of the world around us. This includes understanding historically underrepresented stories and perspectives. 

 

Supporting students in understanding events happening in our country recently through multiple contexts does not constitute as personal political perspectives in the classroom, but instead is designed to address the idea that there are different lived experiences during these events and it is important to understand facts as well as ideologies through which they are seen. 

 

The EWSD stands together against violence and hate symbols, wherever and whenever they occur. The insurrection of the United States Capitol on January 6, 2021, was an event that erupted into violence. In addition, many people participating in this event wore or carried forms of hate symbols recognized by the Anti-Defamation League

 

We want any student, staff member, or visitor to feel safe in expressing their political perspectives, even when others may disagree, but we do not support violence against people as a political action nor do we allow hate symbols to become acceptable as political speech in our classrooms. Perspectives that are harmful to anyone due to their identity or a protected class identification are also statements that are not acceptable within the EWSD.

 

As a District, we encourage everyone to participate in “See Something, Say Something.” This means observing our environment and developing awareness of our surroundings. The District highly respects the privacy, civil rights, and civil liberties of our community by emphasizing behavior, rather than appearance, in identifying suspicious activity. 

 

When we see suspicious activity, something that seems out of place, or hear someone make threats to harm another person, we say something. Even if we are not certain, we trust our instincts and report it. 

 

The EWSD focuses daily on the many aspects of safety, which include: 

  • A very close relationship and strong lines of communication with our local law enforcement and emergency first responders
  • Employing a full-time, professional, and highly trained Director of Safety & Emergency Preparedness
  • Having a District Liaison Police Officer assigned to the school district 
  • An Emergency Response Plan and crisis response training in each of our schools
  • Entry into our schools is restricted using access control and secure entryways  
  • Consistently upgrading emergency communications at each school
  • Staff members wear photo identification badges
  • All visitors coming to a school must check in through the main office

 

Safety is a top priority in the EWSD and we want both our students and employees to feel physically and psychologically safe and cared for in our schools. Along with standing by our values, it is critical that we continue to create an environment that is safe for everyone. As a school district, we promise to do everything reasonably possible to protect your children against any threat that may arise while they are in our care.

 

If you have any school-specific questions, please contact the building principal, otherwise please feel free to reach out to me at: bcobb@ewsd.org

 

Sincerely,

  

Beth Cobb
EWSD Superintendent