November 25, 2022
Action on student safety concerns
Dear Parents, caregivers and students,
As you may know, over the past while we’ve been managing a few issues that are related to or impact student safety in our school, including the recent fire that was started in a bathroom, the pulling of false fire alarms and other similar events. This is something we take exceptionally seriously, both in terms of how it may impact individual staff or students, but also how it impacts us on the whole.
Each incident has been thoroughly investigated, and followed up on. That includes delivering consequences for individual students, where and when it is possible or appropriate to do so, and it includes consistent school-wide reminders of the code of conduct and expectations that every student has been briefed on and is held responsible to meet.
As we have seen increased frequency of these kinds of events, our administrative team has been actively working alongside District staff to review the incidents and discuss environmental and other changes that may be necessary. This includes looking at the following:
- We are putting a plan in place to engage students, staff and key stakeholders in conversations to confirm or identify areas of high concern, so we implement strategies to address issues in a holistic way.
- We will be doing some preliminary work to investigate whether installing video cameras or making other environmental changes can help support student safety, while also ensuring we meet and respect appropriate privacy needs.
- Melanie Smith, the new District Vice-Principal for Safe and Caring Schools, will be liaising with the Safe Schools Network, other district staff, and our school team as we move forward with our increased efforts to address the issues that are impacting us all.
While it is disappointing and impacts all of us, it is important to remember that the inappropriate, and sometimes illegal behaviour represents a small group within our school community. I want to assure you that student and staff safety will always be our top priority and we will continue forward with the work we’re engaged in to provide everyone with a safe and welcoming learning and working environment.
I ask that as parents and caregivers you also take a few minutes with your child, or children, to reinforce the importance of maintaining a safe and caring school by showing respect for the shared expectations we all have around student conduct.
Principal, New Westminster Secondary School