Dear County and District Superintendents and Charter School Administrators:
A Message from California's Homeland Security Advisor and California State Superintendent of Public Instruction
No words can adequately express the overwhelming grief that we are all feeling after the violent tragedy at Robb Elementary School in Uvalde, Texas. Our hearts are heavy with the loss of more innocent lives. We grieve for the families and loved ones of the children and teachers who were murdered, and with the people of the community of Uvalde. We are hopeful for the full and fast recovery of those who suffered injuries.
In the wake of this tragedy, we are resolute in our desire to take meaningful action to prevent future tragedies. As leaders of California’s homeland security and public instruction, we want to channel the anger and frustration of this moment towards progress and real change to ensure the safety for our students, faculty, and staff.
It is important at this time to talk with your staff and leadership about school safety in light of this tragic event. Regardless of what motivated the shooting in Texas, we must all review our safety plans, security procedures, and measures in place to reduce the risks at our schools.
We know you are already working closely with your school leadership, safety teams and local, state, or federal law enforcement agencies to ensure the safest learning environments possible. We thank you for keeping safety a top priority and being leaders of your communities’ planning and preparedness. Also, remember to share any best practices you’ve established or experiences with your colleagues in the education community.
Whether it's a review of your security procedures or special outreach to teacher, faculty, parents, and staff, any steps you can take now to be prepared for any emergency are extremely important. The need for continual communication, coordination, and review of emergency procedures and facilitating exercises cannot be overstated. These steps are crucial now to be prepared for any emergency.
The California Office of Emergency Services (Cal OES) has compiled a wide range of resources from the federal, state, and local level to help you. These are starting points to help find best practices in school safety and preparedness. You can find those resources on the Cal OES website at news.caloes.ca.gov/safeschools and on the California Department of Education website at https://www.cde.ca.gov/ls/mh/projectcalstop.asp.
Thank you for your continued dedication to educational excellence and the safety of all California’s staff, students, and families.
State Superintendent of Public Instruction
Director, Governor's Office of Emergency Services