Email last night from the Superintendent to parents about the shooting in Uvalde, TX and the Medfield Public School’s preparedness. Who would ever have imagined that in our small town we would ever need to be doing such planning. Medfield is about the same size as Uvalde. –
From: Marsden, Jeffrey
Date: Tue, May 24, 2022 at 9:24 PM
Subject: Message from the Superintendent- Reaction to Today’s Event in Texas
Dear Medfield Families,
We are all devastated to learn about the latest senseless tragedy to happen in our country. The details that continue to emerge from the school shooting in Uvalde, Texas are absolutely heartbreaking. We will continue to keep the children, families, and entire Uvalde community in our thoughts during this unimaginable time.
The safety of our students and staff continues to be our top priority in the Medfield Public Schools. We have worked hard over the past several years to put safety measures in place. We have collaborated with the Medfield Police and Metro-LEC (Norfolk County’s SWAT team) to implement lockdown (safety) drills in each school. These drills have served as risk assessments and as a result, improvements have been made in each school. Window shades and interior locks have been added and replaced, shelter-in-place areas have been changed, and internal communication methods have been improved. Prior to the pandemic, all teachers and staff participated in a very intense (and uncomfortable) afternoon of active shooter training with Synergy Solutions and the Medfield Police. This training focused on keeping our students safe in the event of an active shooter in our schools. The very realistic training included “live” gunshots and a variety of scenarios for us to practice and react to in real-time. Although many teachers and staff were very anxious about the training, the feedback was positive as our teachers and staff now have new strategies to handle this type of situation. I review the strategies/plans with new teachers at every new teacher orientation in August.
Additional safety measures have been added throughout the district including a School Resource Officer, capital investment in security cameras, restricted access to buildings, and others that most people, by design, would not even notice. On the advice of law enforcement, we never share our plans publicly or post them on our website. Last summer, the Medfield School Committee and I met with Chief Guerette to review, assess, and update our emergency plans. The security in our district is always evolving and the “plan” is never complete.
In addition to security measures, our focus on social-emotional learning is equally important. Our schools have teams of counselors, teachers, and administrators in place that meet regularly to support students and work with families that need assistance. The addition of counseling at the elementary level, school adjustment counselors at the MS and HS, and a Director of Social Emotional Learning has helped us provide greater support to students and families. Our Social-Emotional Task Force has worked over the past several years to make recommendations for various improvements for the children and adults of our school district. Our new MHS schedule and revised homework policy are tangible improvements that emanated from this group.
The images and news reports over the next few days will be difficult for us to watch and hear. Even if your child does not watch the news, if they carry a smartphone, they could be inundated with information about this horrific event. Please refer to Talking to Children About Violence: Tips for Parents and Teachers and How to Talk to Kids About School Shootings to assist you with these difficult conversations. As always, our dedicated and talented staff is available to support your children during this difficult time. Please reach out to any of us if you need any support assisting your child with processing this event. Please remember the safety of our students and staff will always be our number one focus.
Jeffrey J. Marsden, Ed.D
Medfield Public Schools
Follow me on Twitter @JeffreyJMarsden