Dear Parent and/or Guardian,
This correspondence is provided in an effort to communicate recent changes to safety protocols at your child’s school. In 2019, the Kentucky General Assembly, which consists of representatives and senators from across Kentucky, enacted and passed SB1, The School Safety and Resiliency Act. This legislation, passed under emergency clause, became law the day it was signed into effect by then Governor Matt Bevin. The legislation made sweeping changes to state law in an effort to ensure consistent safety measures and protocols across public school districts in Kentucky. The legislation also created the first ever in Kentucky, School Safety & Security Marshal's Office and empowered that office with the authority to assess and hold school districts accountable for state school safety standards. The standards are identified in an assessment instrument and incorporated into regulation for which all school principals, superintendents, and school boards are responsible.
As a result of the SB1 legislation, school districts will be assessed annually by a representative from the school marshal's office using the most recently adopted instrument. In Harrison County, we have been working with our community partners throughout the year to strengthen and improve already existing safety measures. Some new areas may include, increased law enforcement/EMS presence at school arrival and dismissals, after-hours activities, and special events. We have also been working to increase mental health and wellness opportunities for our students through partnerships with local providers as well as providing a multi-tiered, in-district support staff.
One of the most significant changes to our practices includes the requirement that classroom doors remain closed and locked when occupied by students and their teachers. While we understand that this change in practice has some effect on our traditional instructional routines, this requirement is state law and there is no flexibility at the local level to modify this requirement.
Another change in our process involves the check-in procedures at your child’s school. If visiting for any reason throughout the day, all visitors, including myself as the Superintendent, must check in at the front office with proper photo identification and/or credentials. All visitors shall be required to state their purpose for visiting the school, and then when approved, proceed from the lobby/entryway into the school office to sign the register and to receive a visitor’s identification if necessary. This serves multiple safety purposes and helps to ensure all visitors to the school are there for a valid reason. It also maintains an accurate accounting of the individuals in the school in the event of an emergency.
These are but a few of the changes in safety measures to help ensure every child both is safe and feels safe in their learning environment. We also want you as the parents/guardians to know that while there may be some minor inconveniences, every step we take is done so with the safety of your child in mind.
As always, if you ever have any reason for concern, or just have a question, please do not hesitate to reach out to your child’s school to let someone know or contact my office.
Dr. Harry Burchett, Superintendent
Harrison County Schools