Today Fairfax High School practiced a lockdown drill with the support of the City of Fairfax Police to ensure that the routines and procedures are learned by students in the event of a crisis situation. Suffice to say that, like all other schools systems in America and across the world for that matter, we continue to mourn for the Newtown, Connecticut community and their tragic loss. It is important for all of us to recognize that while the tragedy is senseless, the loss was not in vain: we as school professionals are committed to redoubling our efforts to make certain that procedures and routines are in place that will help prevent crisis situations in the future. So, along with the lockdown drills at our schools, which are part of our suite of preventative drills (like tornado and fire), we continue to restrict access as possible to our buildings throughout the day, remain vigilant in our procedures of confronting those who do not have proper identification, and build capacity in our teachers and students in the establishment of high quality and caring relationships. We thank the City of Fairfax Police for their continued support of the School Resource Officer program which provides community policing at Lanier and Fairfax High and supports that outreach necessary to our broader community. The following is the text of the Keep in Touch message sent today by Principal Goldfarb following the lockdown drill:
Fairfax Community –
Shortly after 9:00 this morning, Fairfax High School conducted a lockdown drill. A lockdown is a well-established Fairfax County Public Schools (FCPS) procedure designed to protect students and staff members in a case in which there might be threats of violence within a school. During a lockdown, students remain in their classrooms or are escorted to classrooms if they are in the halls, and all interior and exterior doors are closed and locked. All instruction and classroom activity is expected to stop, and lights are turned out to make the room appear empty. During the lockdown drill, our administrative and security staff, in coordination with the City of Fairfax Police, walked the building to secure classrooms and ensure everyone’s safety. Once the facility was rendered safe and students were accounted for, the school returned to normal operation.
Every school facility in Fairfax County Public Schools has in place crisis management and emergency preparedness plans, designed with the help of the school system’s security planning staff, local law enforcement, and emergency management officials. Plans are regularly reviewed and updated. The plans include procedures to respond to critical incidents. A lockdown is one of these drills and we practice these drills regularly. Collaboration and cooperation with the police department fosters a more secure learning environment.
Our first responsibility is to provide all of our students a safe, secure and drug-free environment. We never like to think about outsiders coming into our building with the intent to violently harm us, but it is our responsibility to you to prepare for such a possibility. It is important to train students and staff members so that we can effectively implement a lockdown in the event one becomes necessary. Preparation helps staff and students act with calmness and caution in an emergency situation. It also ensures that students and staff feel safe. Learning at high levels can only happen in a place where students feel safe.
I will continue to keep you informed of safety and security measures in place at Fairfax High School. I appreciate your continued support in these matters.
Principal, Fairfax High School