Community Voices: Santa Monica-Malibu Unified School District Superintendent Weighs in on the Florida Shooting

Date:

The following letter was sent by Santa Monica-Malibu Unified School District Superintendent Dr. Ben Drati.

Dear SMMUSD staff, parents and community members,

Our hearts go out to the families and staff involved in yesterday’s tragedy at Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School, in Florida. We hope and pray that nothing like that ever happens in our schools or community. However, if it does, we are prepared as much as possible.

We take safety very seriously, and practice our emergency response plans frequently. Our
school site and district emergency operations and active shooter trainings are methods in which we learn and practice how to best protect students and ourselves. Our trainings include working directly with professional fire and police officials and both the City of Malibu and City of Santa Monica for emergency response and communications.

Our staff, mental health coordinator, counselors and school psychologists are trained to conduct threat assessments on any student who shows concerning behavior and implement
interventions, with parent coordination, when warranted. We also provide on campus support and resources and partner with community health services to help our students and families who need occasional or ongoing support with social-emotional and other non-instructional issues.

These horrific situations are so difficult to understand, let alone explain to students.

Here are a few resources to provide some support:

Talking to Children About Violence: Tips for Parents and Teachers
National PTA School Safety Resources
Five tips to help children cope with a national tragedy

A tragedy such as this reminds us to hug our loved ones a little tighter and appreciate each day a little more.

Sincerely,

Dr. Ben Drati
Superintendent

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