Crisis preparedness key to nurturing school community

Published 10:38 am Thursday, November 15, 2018

At Niles Community Schools, we often talk with parents about the fact our number one priority is the safety of our students. As tragic events take place in schools across the country and all over the world, you can never be too prepared for a crisis. In Niles, our strongest assets in crisis preparedness are the members of the local community.

As a community, it’s important we continue to have an open dialogue when it comes to potentially threatening behavior or messages. With increased access to the internet comes increased responsibility — we must all be accountable for our actions and behaviors in person and online. For this reason, we encourage parents to continue to stress to their children the consequences of inappropriate actions and the impact those actions can have on a child’s future. In school, for example, violations of student behavioral policies are punishable and in some cases by permanent expulsion.

As always, we want students to feel safe in our hallways and classrooms. When it comes to behavioral issues at the school level, we work in partnership with the Niles Police Department as to whether school should remain open, and we only proceed if deemed safe to do so. Of course, parents have the last say in determining whether to excuse their child for legitimate reasons.

The NCS crisis team continues to work around the clock to protect our students, teachers and staff and takes immediate action when it comes to ensuring school safety. While we wish we never had to deal with issues or crises, it’s important we have preparedness plans in place if and when they arise. We appreciate the ongoing work of the crisis team, local law enforcement, community members, students, staff and parents who work together toward the continued safety of all.

Furthermore, we understand that dealing with crises — whether at the individual level, like the loss of a parent, or at the school level, like the loss of a beloved volunteer — is difficult for all those involved. Our crisis response team, counselors and general staff are prepared to help students and each other in any crisis situations. Our main concern is the well-being of our community, and we commit as a district to look after that well-being every day.

Please remember to report any suspicious or threatening activity to a school official or do so by using OK2SAY at 855-565-2729 or by texting 652729.

Additionally, parents of NCS students should be mindful of keeping emergency contact information up to date, to ensure they receive text messages and emails through School Messenger, the District’s communications alert system. Online registration is available via the District website’s “Parents” tab. As always, we encourage anyone with questions about the process to contact the main office at (269) 683-0732.