San Juan Island School District changes to protect students | Guest Column

By Danna Diaz, Ph.D.

San Juan School District superintendent

When we hear news of school-related tragedies, we, as a school district, become ever more resolved in our commitment to student safety. San Juan Island School District principals and school staff have been working hard to create a safer environment for our students.

One year ago, the school district, emergency services and law enforcement carried out an emergency response drill to work through agency communications. This past fall, district leadership completed tabletop exercises and a first aid class to practice emergency protocols.

The front entrance to the elementary school has been remodeled to limit access to the building. All other doors are locked during the school day. Inside locks have been installed on every classroom door. Visitors must enter through the main office, sign-in and wear a visitor’s lanyard for identification. Elementary school staff has met with local agencies to review lockdown procedures and an emergency reunification plan. There was a parent information meeting Dec. 12, 2017, a safety workshop “brown bag lunch” on March 5 and an elementary school evacuation drill on March 27.

At the middle school and high school, internal locks have been installed. Everyone enters through the front office hallway as all other doors are locked. Visitors check in at the office and both visitors and substitutes wear identification badges. All middle and high school staff and students have reviewed the “run, hide or fight” protocol.

We have improved internal and external communication through text messaging to staff and through Parentlink for parents. Please sign up for the Parentlink app on your phone to receive your school’s notices.

As a new measure of security, the high school track will be closed to the public during school hours, from 8:30 a.m. to 3 p.m. Starting next week, “No Public Access” signs will be posted. We ask the community to help us make this change by respecting the hours of closure.

As a school community, we continue to work on improvements related to student safety. As a part of our island community, we are proud of our student’s participation in the March 14 student-led walkout, and also the March 24 “March for Our Lives” event. Protecting our students is our highest priority and we will do everything we can to ensure they are safe in school.

Please contact me if you have any questions, 360-378-4133 or Thank you for your continued support.