Message from the Superintendent
May 26, 2022
Dear OUSD Community,
It’s a heart-breaking week to be an educator–one of the hardest we have experienced. The unspeakable horror that unfolded at Robb Elementary School in Uvalde, Texas, is on all our minds and in all our hearts. We mourn the loss of 19 students and 2 teachers in another senseless act of violence.
I want to acknowledge that the collective community of Orange Unified School District (OUSD) educators, staff, students, and parents are dealing with a wide range of emotions. You may be feeling despair, rage, grief, fear, or numbness. We want to reinforce that OUSD Schools are a safe place for our students, our families, and ourselves. We have school-based counseling teams and mental health professionals on all our campuses to support our community.
Our law enforcement partners from Orange Police Department, Anaheim Police Department, Garden Grove Police Department, Santa Ana Police Department, and the Orange County Sheriff’s Department have increased patrol around all OUSD schools. Most importantly, staff is actively reviewing the security measures and school safety plans in place at each school site.
Safety measures that we currently have in place include:
- District-issued ID badges for all OUSD staff
- Security guards at our middle and high schools
- Surveillance cameras in place or planned for installation at each campus
- Visitor screening for sex offender status using the Raptor System
- Background checks of all school volunteers through Live Scan
- Constant communication with local law enforcement and the OC Intelligence Assessment Center to get the most current intelligence regarding safety matters
- A mental health team that provides prevention, intervention, and postvention for our students, staff, and community
- Safety procedure trainings
- Ongoing facility walkthroughs to assess safety conditions on campus
- Strong partnerships with our local law enforcement, first responders, and the Orange County Department of Education to discuss preventive and proactive measures to better protect our students and staff from acts of violence, natural disasters, and other emergency situations
- Customized safety plans at each of our schools that are updated annually
- Regular safety drills at each school for various types of emergencies, including fires, earthquakes, and lockdowns
- Radios (walkie-talkies) at each school site
- Classroom doors equipped with a device that allows doors to be instantly locked if needed
Additional safety measures currently being discussed include, but are not limited to the following:
- Secured single point of entry gates
- Fencing height
- Pathways for ingress and egress onto campus
- Security cameras at campus entry points
- Increase of night security and security during the school day
- Additional considerations as recommended by local law enforcement agencies
Please consult with your school site administrator for campus-specific safety information.
In addition, we continue to have Mental Health as a top priority for all schools to provide timely intervention and counseling for all. As always, we welcome parent feedback and collaboration to make our schools as safe as possible for all students and staff. We will continue to refine our plans and encourage parents to speak to their school principals regarding safety updates.
With a deep sense of sadness, I ask that we all come together as a community to make our schools the safest place for our children. No child or staff member should have to deal with this violence and fear. OUSD is committed to doing its part to ensure all our students and staff are safe and healthy.
Gunn Marie Hansen, Ph.D.
Superintendent of Schools
Orange Unified School District
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