Dear Parents and Guardians:
I am reaching out to talk to you about our plans to add security fencing at several of our schools over the summer. Ukiah High School, Big Picture Ukiah @ South Valley High School, Eagle Peak, Pomolita, Oak Manor, Nokomis, and Yokayo will all get new security fencing this summer. I apologize if some of you haven’t heard about the new fencing. Although we haven’t communicated exclusively about fencing, it has been in my Ukiah Daily Journal columns, parent and staff communications, and board meeting agendas and minutes. Our voters also approved Measure A, our school facilities bond, with the district’s promise of enhancing outdated security and emergency communications systems, including security fencing. As I stated back in my September 30th Parent Communication, I am proud of all the things we are doing and plan to do to increase safety at our schools. Click here to read my 9.30.2022 communication. https://www.uusd.net/apps/news/article/1665915
School campuses with open layouts have long been popular for many educational institutions, including Ukiah Unified. However, as time passes, it has become increasingly clear that this type of layout may not be the safest choice for students and staff. As district leadership learned as part of the ACSA (Association of California School Administrators) School Violence Prevention Task Force, there isn’t one answer to school safety; it’s about layers of safety. The more layers of safety you have in place when there is a crisis like an active shooter, the better the outcome for students and staff. Click here to visit ACSA’s Resource Hub and read 5 Ways to Make Your Campus Safer, written by Keenan Associates. https://content.acsa.org/5-ways-to-make-your-campus-safer/
In addition to improving safety, new fencing can also help schools to manage student behavior more effectively. Open campuses make it easier for students to leave the school grounds during school hours, which can lead to truancy, tardiness, risky behaviors, and other disciplinary issues. Fencing will help our elementary schools manage runners so they do not run out of busy city streets. By installing new fencing, we can create clear boundaries that students are expected to stay within, making it easier for teachers and administrators to enforce school rules and expectations.
Click here to see the plans for our fencing projects that are in the process of approval by the State of California. https://drive.google.com/drive/folders/1w0-gKnfT0jNExqX1oVNRMNLsCragZqFo?usp=share_link Spend a little time looking them over. You will see emergency exits at various points and aesthetic fencing elements, and you can see that a lot of work was put into how the fencing projects will affect our campus's appearance. We care deeply about the aesthetics of our schools, so we have insisted on ornamental fencing and not just simple chain link. For an example of what our new fencing will look like and how it will function, please visit Grace Hudson Language Academy; their fencing is very similar to what we are planning for our schools.
I share the concerns that some of you have about how this will make our students feel while at school, but our students and staff are too important not to increase security. Please reach out to me with any concerns. Thank you for all you do for our students!