The recent school shooting in Parkland, Florida, has been deeply unsettling for everyone in our community. At the Bellevue Schools, we are committed to keeping our schools safe. This letter will address two important issues.
First, I want to provide you with more information about how we manage safety on our school campuses.
Second, I will share the guidelines we have provided to our school site leadership about student participation during the school day in demonstration events advocating for school safety.
At Bellevue Schools, we are fortunate to have a Safety and Security Department staffed by experts in campus security, law enforcement, and emergency management. Our staff takes a multi-pronged approach to student safety by conducting regular safety drills (including lockdown drills), training staff how to keep our students safe during an active shooter situation, and providing easy communication channels for teachers and students to report anything that appears unusual or threatening. BSD also has a strong partnership with the Bellevue Police Department, who provide school resource officers at our schools and also work with our security team to quickly identify and investigate any potential threats.
To provide more information on the steps we take to keep our schools safe, we have scheduled two information sessions with our Safety and Security Department in the coming weeks. We invite you to come to one of these sessions to learn more about the safety measures we have in place, ask questions, and provide feedback on school safety. The sessions will be held on Thursday, March 8 from 6:00 – 7:00 p.m. in the Bellevue High School Library and on Tuesday, March 13 from 6:00 – 7:00 p.m. in the Interlake High School Library.
In addition, we know that many of our students would like to participate in student-led demonstration events in support of school safety that are taking place throughout the nation in the coming weeks. As with any social cause or effort, we encourage students to participate and express themselves in a responsible manner that balances free expression with the need to respect the integrity of each school’s learning environment. Students and families must remember that if a student leaves school grounds during scheduled class time without authorization, this is considered an unexcused absence under state law and District policies. If schools permit an organized student-led event on school grounds during the school day and students choose to participate in those events, such participation will not be considered an unexcused absence. Students at schools where events are planned will also be provided with the option to not participate in those events, if they so choose.
Our most precious resource is our students. As a district and community, we will continue to focus on keeping our students safe and secure in our schools.
Dr. Ivan Duran