March 1, 2018 – Safety Letter

Dear Seattle Schools Families and Community,

As Dr. Nyland shared last week, we continue to share in the grief following the Florida school shooting. We are also inspired by the advocacy of the students and support their efforts to ensure that this type of incident never happens again in a school.

Safety is our top priority. This includes ensuring that our buildings are made as safe as possible, as well as training our staff.

Every year we conduct Safety and Security Audits for each of our schools. These reports help us prioritize the safety needs of each school. For years, our Building Excellence (BEX) and Building, Technology, and Academics/Athletics (BTA) Levies have focused on improving school safety, as well as enhancing the instructional environment. We will continue this focus on our next levy proposal, as well as continuing to seek additional grant funding when these opportunities arise.

As of this school year, here are some of the safety precautions we have in place at Madison:

  • Madison annually updates its safety plan, and every month practices emergency drills, including lockdowns and evacuations, so that staff and students know how to respond in case an emergency.
  • Madison has security cameras that monitor the halls.
  • Madison has a security specialist on site.
  • The Safety and Security Department has a School Threat Assessment Team and is hiring an Emergency Management Planner to more closely coordinate planning efforts with the city.
  • Each of the five regions of the school district has one mobile security unit to support elementary schools.
  • With our close partnership with the Seattle Police Department, we have had joint training with command staff as well as a thorough assessment of school buildings to improve school safety.

Families also play an important role in helping schools remain safe. We need your vigilance to ensure that any safety concern is immediately reported your school administrator or the police. If you or your student see something, please say something. We encourage you to call the school administrator, the district Safe Schools Hotline at 206-252-0510 or if it is an emergency, call 911 immediately.

Here are some suggestions for you to help:

  • Please take a moment to discuss this important issue with your children.
  • Please stay connected and monitor social media activities your children are engaged in.
  • Familiarize yourself with warning signs provided by the Sandy Hook Promise, which offers programs and support to help protect children from gun violence in homes, schools and communities.
  • Please ensure that if you own a firearm, keep it locked in an approved storage component or locker: This is the law!
  • Please ensure that your children do not have access to firearms while visiting homes of friends or relatives.

We will remain vigilant, continuing to address student and staff safety through school safety protocol and will be providing an opportunity for students to discuss their feelings around the most recent school shooting event in a safe space in Advisory class.  Counseling and administrative staff will be following up with any students who may need one-on-one support around this issue.

Thank you for partnering with us. Safety is everyone’s responsibility. By working, talking and listening together – especially with our students – we will continue to keep our school communities safe.


Dr. Robert Gary, Jr.


Resources that are helpful in discussing troubling events with children: