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Message To Families In Response To School Shooting In Uvalde, Texas

Dear Mercer Island Families,

It is with great sadness that I share my deepest sympathy to the families and community that senselessly lost children today at Robb Elementary School in Uvalde, Texas. These words feel small in the face of the immense grief this community is facing. Another school shooting  tragedy is leaving an indelible mark on parents, families, friends, classmates, teachers and a community.  

As we all try to comprehend and process this tragedy, we recognize that its impact is far reaching and that it may cause fear and anxiety for our staff, students and families. Be assured that the safety of students in the Mercer Island School District is a top priority, is part of our school values, and is something we commit to and foster every day. Nevertheless, instances of school violence prompt us to pause and reflect on our District’s safety measures. Recognizing that there is no simple solution to school safety, we are reminded that it starts with caring for each student which is why students are and must always be the priority. It then extends to more tangible safety measures like the following: 

  • Creating safe buildings and facilities by having secure entryways in each of our schools;
  • Helping students prepare for emergency situations by practicing fire, earthquake, and lockdown drills at our schools;
  • Regularly  reviewing emergency procedures and related issues at administrative and school-level meetings;
  • Partnering with  the Mercer Island Police Department and the City of Mercer Island on strategies for school violence prevention and intervention; and
  • Participating in a regional collaborative on threat assessments to support, intervene, and respond to student threats in a timely manner. 

Earlier this school year, we took another step to empower students to help keep our campuses safe when we implemented the Sandy Hook Promise Say Something program at the high school and middle school. This program teaches middle and high school students to recognize the warning signs of someone at-risk of hurting themselves or others and how to say something to a trusted adult to get help. The Say Something anonymous reporting system also enables students to submit a secure, anonymous safety concern to help someone who may hurt themselves or others.

Our staff, students, families, and community are in tune with our students and have consistently reported concerns to the schools and/or trusted adults so we can support our children and prevent acts of violence. Through our partnership with the Mercer Island Police Department and the tireless efforts of our School Resource Officer, Kristina Lum, we are able to take action quickly when a student is reported to be in distress and respond appropriately if there is any threat. 

In times like these when our hearts break for a community of children miles away, I am reminded of the strength and support of our own community. We value the support of our families as we carry the responsibility to educate and keep our students safe.

If you have questions or concerns about the safety measures in place at your child’s school, please reach out to the principal of the school.

Most Sincerely,

Superintendent Donna Colosky

Deputy Superintendent Fred Rundle