I’ve been celebrating many of the wonderful things I’ve been seeing at the start of the school year. This week I am also recognizing something positive — it’s just that the conditions that prompted the recognition are tough to talk about.
Every day educators and administrators in our schools are placed in unexpected situations that could affect lives forever. When external forces violate our schools, they not only rob our students of their opportunity to learn, they also rob them of their feelings of safety, security, and well-being. This is something many superintendents, principals, teachers, and staff did not anticipate being a part of their work and it has unfortunately become a part of our daily responsibility.
I want to recognize Springfield Public School District 186 for all they’ve gone through since school began this year. Someone has called in threats against schools on multiple occasions. Responding to these multiple threats, the district team has demonstrated tremendous leadership and preparation to protect students and adults. Superintendent Jennifer Gill is demonstrating remarkable grace and resolve to ensure everyone’s safety as the community deals with these threats. In each incident, families were immediately notified via automated calls and follow-up communications were continued throughout the ordeals each week. Students and staff were evacuated to safe sites where weather and technology needs were taken into consideration. The district continually provided a consistent message for students and offered follow-up support through social workers and psychologists.