Letters to the Editor

Keeping our schools safe

Earlier this week, 6,000 students returned from their summer vacations to begin a new school year here in the Snoqualmie Valley. While the basic purpose of our schools is student learning, the safety and well-being of our students will always be of highest priority.

We are committed throughout our district and in every school building to provide a safe and secure learning environment for the students.

Our schools provide programming and activities to educate students on acceptable social behaviors and what to do if they personally experience or witness others involved in instances of bullying, harassment or intimidation. Efforts across the district include but are not limited to assemblies and expert speakers, respect talks, classroom lessons, peer-to-peer mentoring programs such as Natural Helpers, staff training, administrative intervention, partnering with parents to provide additional support for students, classroom discussions, and working with PTSA groups to offer parent education and resources.

Additionally, some new activities will be implemented this year that will provide more high school student voice and involvement. A mechanism that would provide high school students an additional avenue for reporting incidents will be implemented later this month, and the Mount Si High School PTSA is planning a forum for parents this fall. A district-wide team of staff representing each school will be convened to share best practices, resources, and programming around pro-social behaviors.

Unfortunately, bullying and harassment occurs in society and sometimes at school. However, these undesirable behaviors are not the norm in our schools; they are the exception. These behaviors are not tolerated. Reported incidents and problems of this nature are dealt with swiftly, and supports are put in place in an effort to prevent these problems from recurring.

In my visits to our schools and classrooms, I am reminded that the students who attend our schools are great kids! They are talented, creative, hard-working, and capable. They possess strong character and demonstrate integrity. Our kids are civic-minded, kind, generous, and extremely proud of their schools.

We too, are proud of our schools and students. As we begin this new school year, we look forward to celebrating their strengths, accomplishments, and contributions to the community. At the same time, we remain committed to a philosophy of continuous improvement as we endeavor to make our schools the best they can possibly be.

Joel Aune

Superintendent

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