Feb. 13, 2019 - In the video above, superintendent of Duval County Public Schools, Dr. Diana Greene, addresses school safety and the progress that has been made in our schools. The full script of the message is below:
Message from Dr. Greene
This week will mark a year since the terrible and senseless tragedy at Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School. Seventeen lives were lost, many others were injured, and families throughout the community were forever impacted.
As we approach this somber anniversary, I want to first extend my thoughts and prayers to the entire Parkland community. It is with deep pain and heartache that we honor the lives lost and reflect on the lessons we continue to learn from that tragic day.
This act of violence sent shockwaves throughout the entire global school community, and brought important conversations about school safety to the forefront. It is for these reasons I want to take some time to update you on some of the measures we’ve implemented in order to keep our children and staff safe!
First, we’ve strengthened our defense. All of our schools have received significant improvements and security upgrades, including buzzer systems and controlled entryways. And thanks to funding from the Marjory Stoneman Douglas Safety Act, we’re investing in walk-through metal detectors for all of our high schools. They’ll be used for special events, and in the event of a potential threat. We’re also improving our camera systems. This will help us clearly see and react to anything that appears to be a safety issue.
We also have a stronger offense. For years, certified law enforcement officers have been stationed at each of our middle and high schools. Now, we also have designated personnel to protect all of our elementary schools. These men and women have been trained, and their primary role is to abate an active assailant.
As important as these security measures are, there’s still another side to the equation. And that’s to address the root issues of many of the acts of violence we see in our schools and our community. For us, this means a renewed focus on mental health and early detection.
With great support from Mayor Curry, the City of Jacksonville, and the state of Florida…we’ve partnered with United Way to expand mental health resources in our schools. More dedicated mental health therapists are working throughout the district. And, early warning systems have been implemented in all schools. Staff are being trained to identify concerning behavior, and they also have a process to connect those students to important resources.
As we continue to make improvements, we need your help. “See something – say something” has become a deeply held value as we’ve partnered with students and parents to identify issues before they become dangerous. Please, continue speaking with students about their roles. Continue to be our eyes and ears in the community.
Bottom line – we cannot do this work alone. It is only together, as a united Team Duval, that we can maintain safe and effective learning environments in our Duval County Public Schools community.