North Harford Middle School
Dr. Karl E. Wickman, Principal
Mr. Antonnio R. Hockaday, Assistant Principal
Ms. Christine I. Kelly, Assistant Principal
Mr. Jeffrey R. Raff, Assistant Principal
112 Pylesville Road
Pylesville, MD 21132
Dear Harford County Public Schools Community,
I know we are all devastated by the rash of school shootings, the most recent being the horrific act that took 17 lives at Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School in Parkland, Florida. These events cause us to reflect on our practices in Harford County Public Schools (HCPS). We pray that nothing like this ever occurs in our own community. Sadly, we have learned from national incidents that no school or school system can guarantee 100 percent safety of students and staff 100 percent of the time, but I want to reassure our community that safety is our number one priority. We take deliberate and intentional measures to take care of our children by maintaining safe and secure learning environments.
Each Harford County public school follows a critical incident plan which has been developed, vetted and approved by our Office of Safety and Security. The plans are well known and practiced by administrators, staff and students in the building, and provide guidelines for crisis response and prevention.
It is our expectation that the general safety and security practices listed below are followed by all stakeholders who work in or visit our schools:
- All exterior doors are to remain locked throughout the school day;
- Access to buildings is controlled. Visitors must enter the school by going through the front office, provide identification, sign in, and wear a visitor badge during their time in the building;
- Throughout the year we practice a variety of critical incident drills. You can view the “Evacuation Drills and Fire Safety” Policy via the “HCPS Procedures & Board Policies” button on our homepage, www.hcps.org;
- Our School Resource Officer (SRO) program works collaboratively with our Office of Safety and Security on a daily basis.
There are many other aspects of our overall security program that are not seen by the general public, but which go a long way in helping make our buildings secure. We are not at liberty to discuss these aspects because they involve information we do not want to share with potential perpetrators.
We work very closely with the Harford County Sheriff’s Department and municipal law enforcement agencies to help keep schools safe and secure. We are truly grateful for the partnerships with our local law enforcement agencies.
Please be advised that we are conducting a full review of our safety and security plans as well as our training to ensure we are maximizing our efforts to prevent a tragedy.
Remember, one of our greatest resources is you. Please have conversations at home and at work to help us secure our schools. Please provide information about issues that may be brewing in your school or your community and continue to be alert and attentive students, staff and parents/guardians. We cannot know everything and we rely on you to partner with us in our efforts to keep our schools safe.
If you see something, say something.
Barbara P. Canavan
Superintendent, Harford County Public Schools