Farmington superintendent offers comfort, resources after Florida school shooting

In the wake of the tragic Valentine’s Day shooting at a Florida high school, Farmington Public Schools Superintendent Dr. George Heitsch sent a note to families that offered reassurance and resources designed to help parents process the news with their children.

“We are deeply saddened with the tragic event that unfolded in Florida yesterday where numerous lives were lost in a school shooting.  Our hearts go out to all of those affected by this senseless tragedy,” he said.

Heitsch recapped the security measures, including improvements to secure building entries, that were part of the latest round of bond projects:

“Another project associated with the bond is the installation of high-quality video surveillance throughout our secondary schools. Additionally, throughout the District, our staff must carry identification badges which function as electronic keys, helping to maintain limited access to our schools.  Finally, as part of bond renovations, ‘panic’ buttons were added that communicate immediately with law enforcement in the event of an emergency.”

Heitsch also pointed to the district’s close relationship with local police, fire, and public safety departments.  “This includes embedded school liaison officers stationed at each of our three comprehensive high schools and assigned to support all of our schools.  We have found our partnership to be key in both responding to events and perhaps more importantly, preventing problems before they happen.  Additionally, our liaisons support crisis planning, school drills, and provide advice to our schools related to safety and security.”

The district also offers restorative practices facilitators, social workers, and psychologists “whose roles are to help students resolve conflicts and learn strategies to resolve situations through non-violent, positive behaviors.” The State of Michigan’s “Ok 2 Say” app also gives students a way to report information about students who are threatening to harm themselves or others, he added.

 

Heitsch concluded with a list of helpful resources:

American School Counselor Association (ASCA)
https://www.schoolcounselor.org/

PBS.org

The Child Mind Institute