An Open Letter to the District 7 Community September 29, 2016
From Superintendent, Dr. Russell Booker
Dear District 7 Family and Friends:
I write with a heavy heart following the news of the recent school shooting in Anderson, SC.
I'm sure I speak for all of you in sending our fervent prayers to the staff, students and families of Townville Elementary School and wishing a full recovery to the children and the teacher who were injured in this senseless act of violence. As our neighbors in Anderson School District 4 move through the days ahead, we are reminded once again that, as a community, we have a great responsibility to ensure the safety and care of our children.
Sifting through the emotions of the day, I would be remiss if I didn't offer my thoughts on how we might ease the fears of our students and provide them with calming reassurance. I would be remiss if I didn't take this opportunity to publicly share my sorrow and to let you know that while we are vigilant about the wellbeing of our children, we welcome your support in this daily endeavor.
Our curriculum in Spartanburg District 7 consistently familiarizes students with a variety of safety drills. Be it a weather-related drill or an exercise involving an active shooter or intruder - every school in District 7 has policies and protocols to support best-practice procedures for the safety of everyone in our buildings. The more you know about our safety measures, the better you can help us practice and promote them.
If you've been to a District 7 school, you've probably noticed the stickers on our doors that read, "Ignore the Door." As one of many safety precautions in the District, the exterior doors at our schools are locked and secure at all times. Students have been told not to open an exterior door to the school - whether they know the individual or not. You can help us reinforce this policy by adhering to the rule. All visitors to District 7 facilities are asked to identify themselves in the main office of a school before gaining access to the building. Likewise, visitors are unable to access any part of our building without being buzzed in by our front office staff.
We applaud the heroic first responders at Townville. We look to our law enforcement professionals for guidance, support and protection and we welcome their assistance and care in our schools. Our School Resource Officers (SRO's) are friendly and familiar faces in our schools and are actively engaged in our efforts to make the learning environments in District 7 safe, secure and welcoming. We are fortunate to have SRO's in our elementary, middle, and high schools.
Our District Seven Safety Committee is comprised of representatives from each of our schools. We meet on a regular basis in an effort to ensure we are being consistent in our safety approaches and informed on ways to further enhance the security and overall wellbeing of our students and staff. (The links below, provided to us by the SC Association of School Psychologists, may provide helpful information in the wake of this incident.)
The world we live in today calls for a greater spirit of community than ever before. We truly are each other's keeper. We are, first and foremost, neighbors. We know that more communication with one another is essential. If you see something - say something. Remind your children to do the same.
It is a joy and a privilege to inspire and equip our students for meaningful lives of leadership and service - and we don't do this alone. Your partnership is invaluable and integral in advancing the education of our children.