December 2019 Gibbons Newsletter

December Newsletter

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Lessons Learned

“Effort and courage are not enough without purpose and direction.” - John F. Kennedy

School safety techniques have changed dramatically over the past twenty years. As a result of the tragic events that unfolded at Columbine High School in 1999, law enforcement officials quickly started to make changes as to how they respond to school violence. For example, the days of police officers waiting for the SWAT Team are over. Responding officers are now instructed to go directly to the threat. It has taken schools longer to adapt, but significant progress has been made in school safety.

In 2012, Stoughton Public Schools made significant changes to school safety protocols with the adoption of the ALICE (Alert, Lock-down, Inform, Counter and Evacuate) response program. Stoughton was one of the early adopters of this program which has become a national model. Police officers and school administrators underwent comprehensive training on how to react to a violent intruder. Trainers then worked with school staff on how to implement these strategies within classrooms and school buildings. The initial process took about eighteen months but training is ongoing. Although ALICE is our underlying protocol, in Stoughton we emphasize empowering school staff to make life-saving decisions knowing there is no way to predict all variables of a potential threat.

Creating safe schools involves more than training for an active shooter situation. It starts with an effective communication system between law enforcement officials, school leaders, teachers, counselors, and the community. Stoughton is fortunate to have two dedicated school resource officers who serve the school system and who understand the complexity of keeping students safe. Investments have been made to update and add camera systems in all school buildings. Threat assessment training takes place every year. And, of course, the new Stoughton High School has some of the most advanced security systems in the state.

Despite improvements to building infrastructure and an increased level of training, there is still more work to do. Parents and members of the community should feel confident the physical and emotional well-being of our students in Stoughton is our top priority. Sadly, acts of school violence around the country did not end with Columbine, and many lessons have been learned from these horrific events. We will continue to work with our community partners to apply this knowledge across each school in the district.

To learn more about school safety in Stoughton, please visit

To learn more about the ALICE Training & Response Protocol, please visit

Also, be on the lookout for a school safety forum in early 2020 (date and time TBA).

Grades 4 and 5 Concert

Friday, Dec. 13th, 10:15am

235 Morton Street

Stoughton, MA

Winter Marketplace

Tuesday, Dec. 17th, 6-7pm

235 Morton Street

Stoughton, MA

Last Full Day of School Before Winter break

Monday, Dec. 23rd, 8:30am

235 Morton Street

Stoughton, MA

School Back in Session!

Thursday, Jan. 2nd 2020 at 8:30am

235 Morton Street

Stoughton, MA