Dear Parents, February 20, 2018
I’m heartbroken over the agony caused by the school shooting in South Florida on February 14. There have been 18 school shootings in the United States so far this year, more than double the number this time last year, and every time one happens, I lie awake at night trying to figure out how best to keep UUSD students and staff safe.
At Ukiah Unified School District, we will be providing our students and staff with updated training in the next two weeks, and we will be conducting a drill using the updated active shooter training, Run, Hide, Fight. Fire and earthquake drills, lockdown drills, and active shooter drills will continue to be held throughout the school year. Hopefully, this preparation will never be tested. If you would like to watch the video we will be using to train our staff so you can talk with your children at home about the Run, Hide, Fight approach, you can find it at https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=sMgdn5JV9cU.
Ukiah Police Chief Chris Dewey gave some important advice in his weekly newspaper column/blog titled, “Run, Hide and Fight” (ukiahpolice.com/news/hot-topics/run-hide-and-fight). He said:
If you can run from danger, then run. If you can’t run or if running puts you in harm’s way, then hide: lock and/or barricade the door, close the blinds, and be as quiet as possible while calling 911 to let us know where you are. If you can’t hide, your last option is to fight back…
If running away or hiding is not an option, throw items, yell and scream, work with each other as a team and act as aggressively as possible. I promise that first responders will be running to help you win the fight, so fight, fight, fight until we get there. Commit to winning the battle; your chance of survival is proven to be much greater if you take action.
In many school shootings, the perpetrators were students or former students with a history of violence and an affinity for guns. Signs of anger and/or mental instability were there, but it is often difficult to know when to intervene, to figure out where the line is between individual rights and the safety of our school communities.
Here's what Chief Dewey recommends:
Usually, over time attackers begin to display anti-social behavior like increased use of alcohol or drugs, depression, withdrawal, suicidal comments, angry outbursts, and paranoia. Mental health professionals can help treat individuals with these symptoms, but can only do so if the people struggling with these symptoms seek help.
This is where all of us come in. Any one of us may be in a position to help prevent a shooting by recognizing these early warning signs and choosing to engage rather than to turn a blind eye. Your courage might be the difference between a tragedy and helping someone in need.
Please pay attention and encourage your student to do the same. We must all work together to help students who feel disenfranchised, powerless and angry to redirect their anger away from violence. Even if you are not sure whether to report something, please err on the side of caution and report it.
We feel so honored to care for your children at school and take their safety seriously. If your student has expressed concern about their safety at school, please immediately report it to the school administrators or counselors.
Deb Kubin, Superintendent