Letter to the Editor: principal responds to staff Editorial

Dear Epitaph,

I wanted to clarify and correct some of the comments made in your Staff Editorial from the December 11 edition titled “What Will It Take To Turn Your Words Into Action” (page 4).  Your column made it sound as if nothing has happened to increase or improve safety, but in reality, here are some of the things that have been done and are being done since the November incident:

  • The annual Run/Hide/Defend Drill was rescheduled to lessen any lingering stress or anxiety of both staff and students
  • The date and time of the drill was also announced early, which is something we have never done, so that students and staff could talk through strategies and procedures
  • After the November incident, we had our crisis support team available to students or staff who needed support
  • Teachers were given discussion starters to help hold conversations with students if needed
  • We also had an increased police presence on campus on the days following the news
  • Our District is currently accepting bids from safety companies with an expected awarding of a contract at the January 14th School Board meeting
  • Camera Installation vendors toured campus on December 9th to gather information and complete design plans
  • If approved on the 14th, work will begin at the start of February with completion expected by March 2020
  • I have also been working with our District to investigate a change in gates and fencing around campus but no decisions have been reached at this point
  • Both the Superintendent of our District, Polly Bove, and I wrote and presented statements to the court on behalf of our students and staff in the legal matter of the SJSU student who was arrested 
  • We have both personally attended three court dates in this matter and been available to the District Attorney’s office for help and support
  • The Sandy Hook Promise App is no longer an option as the eligibility requirements have changed and Homestead does not fit the description of eligible schools
  • Our District is continuing to look for resources that may fit the same purpose as the Sandy Hook Promise but has not been selected at this time

Safety is something that we take seriously and is a routine part of our job.  We are constantly supervising campus throughout the day; holding emergency drills as mandated by law, responding to issues that are brought to our attention; enforcing the visitor policy where anyone who is not a staff member or student of Homestead, must be checked in, escorted, and wearing the visible visitor’s badge; and working with students, staff, and families in regard to mental health support by providing resources and avenues for discussion.  

We are always open to listen to your concerns or suggestions, so I would encourage anyone to come forward and talk with a staff member about your issues or ideas.

Respectfully,

Greg Giglio, Homestead Principal and Parent

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