We join with the nation in expressing our horror at the tragedy that unfolded at Robb Elementary School in Uvalde, Texas earlier today.

Words can’t adequately express the outrage and the sadness we feel at this senseless violence, perpetrated against the most innocent members of our society. Schools should be a place of unquestioned safety. Our hearts go out to all those impacted by this terrible act.

We’d also like to remind all members of our school communities about the precautions, procedures, and notification methods we have in place to deal with emergency situations.

First and foremost, if you see or hear something that makes you feel uncomfortable or unsafe, immediately report that information to a trusted adult. This could be a teacher, a building principal, or a school resource officer.

Second, we are fortunate in Silver Falls School District to have excellent working relationships with a variety of local law enforcement agencies. Silverton Police Department is one such partner, providing rapid response times to each of our facilities. Working alongside these partners, we conduct regular drills both with and without students present in order to assess our readiness were an intruder to attempt to gain access to a school building. Additionally, SFSD facilities have received multiple safety and security related upgrades in the past several years, including door cameras and bells, new locks and entry systems, etc. Finally, we have been informed by local law enforcement partners that patrols and in-person contacts with our schools have been increased. You may see an increase in the presence of police officers in and around district property as a result.

Finally, SFSD employs a variety of communication systems and methods in order to ensure we can reach families in times of crisis or emergency, and we host or partner with hosts for many of these systems off-site in order to ensure continuity of communication even in the event of an emergency that eliminates or reduces our access to our own facilities. Our communication channels include ParentSquare (providing voice calls, emails, text messages and push notifications to mobile devices), email, Facebook, school and district websites, and the FlashAlert system (used to notify media partners in the event of school closures, delays, or other emergencies).

We acknowledge that events such as the one that unfolded in Uvalde today can be a source of frustration, fear, anger, and sadness. As educators we hold the safety of our students to be our highest priority. We continuously evaluate and reevaluate our preparedness, and consider this a great strength in our district. However, the greater strength comes from the support of our community and the strength of its families. Thank you for partnering with us in keeping our schools safe.

For some resources to help you talk to your children about these events, please see below:

If your student(s) require additional support in the coming days, please don’t hesitate to reach out to your teacher, counselor, or building principal.