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Keeping Kids Safe

Keeping Kids Safe
Posted on 09/06/2017
Message from Superintendent of Schools Dr. Kenneth Salim

Dear CPS Community:

We always hope for an exciting first day of school, but we experienced more excitement than we bargained for on September 5, due to a violent incident in Central Square. I'd like to express our sincere appreciation to Cambridge Emergency Communications/911 and to the Cambridge Police Department for their quick work and communication with us throughout the day.

On Tuesday morning, CPS was notified of a shooting in the Cambridgeport/Riverside area. Out of an abundance of caution, CPS implemented "Secure and Hold" procedures at nearby schools. Soon after, the secure and hold was expanded to include schools in Mid-Cambridge, East Cambridge, and The Port.

Thankfully, the incident was resolved without any true threat to our school buildings, and the Secure and Hold was lifted well before afternoon dismissal. Many students were likely unaware of anything unusual beyond having an indoor recess on their first day. This is a teachable moment and opportunity to remind families of three important safety precautions that families can take:
  1. Review your school's emergency procedures.
    Read more here >>

    –In the event of any heightened security measures, we will send out a safety alert via email - as we did on Tuesday. Heightened security means that there's a potential risk, but the risk is likely very low.
    –If there is an actual emergency, you will be notified by automated phone call and/or text message of the nature of the incident and instructions for families.

    Please do not rush to your child's school unless you have been instructed to do so. Rushing to the school adds to confusion and may create traffic congestion that will make it difficult for emergency responders to get through and/or for staff to safely evacuate or supervise their students.

    In addition, we may need you to come to a different location, so it's best to stay close to your phone or email and await instructions.

  2. Stay connected by downloading the CPS App.
    Get the App >>

    The CPS App is a good way to make sure you have the latest information, with notifications going to your phone so that you can see that something important is happening in CPS.

    Download the App and enable "push notifications" for the district as a whole and for your school(s). This is the quickest way to stay in the loop on this type of information. This also provides you with quick access to more detailed updates that are issued once the situation is "all clear."

  3. Please be patient with safety procedures.

    For student safety, schools are required to keep their doors locked for most of the day and to require that visitors check in, in the main office. This can sometimes feel impersonal to newer families, but this procedure is designed to keep everyone safe.

    We encourage school communities to be as welcoming as possible, and want your family to know that you are a valued part of your student's community and learning experience.
As always, we are open to any feedback, questions, or concerns that you may have about safety issues in our schools.

We look forward to welcoming our new Kindergarteners on Thursday, and hope that everyone has an otherwise uneventful - but engaging - opening of the new school year.

Kenneth Salim