911 Andrews Road
Murphy, NC 28906


Cherokee County Public Schools mission is for every student to graduate from high school globally competitive for work and postsecondary education and be prepared for life in the 21st century.

Dear Cherokee County Families,

The safety of our students, staff and the Cherokee County Schools System is not only our highest
priority, but our duty.

Let me assure that every one of our employees ache for the families of the communities who have been impacted by violence and tragedy. We are dedicated to providing
the safest environment for our students as possible. There are no words to adequately express the emotions that accompany a senseless act like the most recent tragedy in Florida.

In fact, 28 years ago when I began my career as a teacher I would never have believed we would come to a place as a society where discussing such a horrific possibility with our students would be necessary. As a result of these events many of us wonder what is the status of our own District policies, procedures and practices, and how do we ensure we are doing everything we can?

In Cherokee County, we have and continue to refine several proactive measures to help support the safety and security of all students and staff.

These include:

  • Comprehensive safety/emergency response plans for each site

  • Staff at each of our buildings who are trained to respond in an emergency situation

  • Emergency drills that are conducted monthly at each of our schools to help staff and students understand how to respond in the event of an actual emergency

  • Our School Board will review a recently-conducted evaluation and audit of our current safety preparedness and will recommend further actions to be taken during its
  • April meeting.

  • We have applied for a grant to secure a 5 th School resource officer. Currently we have
  • 4 serving 12 campuses.

  • We have made progress on securing school entry access points by installing keyless
  • entry hardware. We are working to complete this installation at all of our schools in
    the future.

  • We are making progress on the installation of school security cameras at our school
  • sites.

  • All of our school administrators and counselors will be receiving professional
  • development in Threat Assessment protocol to better identify students who are in need
    of support and further attention

  • All staff is receiving updated training regarding safety protocols for every event,
  • including lock down.

  • All students will receive updated training and instructions on March 13 th , which has
  • been designated Student School Safety Awareness Day by Cherokee County Schools.
    Families will be receiving discussion points to utilize with their children to re-
    emphasize safety protocols in the event of such an event.

  • While great progress is being made, we have a strong sense of urgency to ensure that
  • everything that can be done, is being done. We look forward to providing you with
    continued updates on the progress we are making to ensure that our students, staff and
    school communities are safe. In the meantime we ask for your support with the
    upcoming goals

    We know all of this is not enough. These are goals we are working to make happen in the
    immediate future:

  • A District Safety/Emergency Preparedness Specialist working directly with schools to make sure that measures are in place and reviewed regularly

  • Implement a new and improved Safe Schools Alert, which allows individuals to report concerns anonymously via email, phone or text message

  • Request funding for at least one full time school resource officer and counselor for every school.

  • Incorporating veterans, retired law enforcement, and other willing volunteers to be a part of an overall safety plan for each school. Caring community members can make an impact, just with a physical presence. We are hosting meetings in each area to explain how to become a volunteer and receive the volunteer application packet. Please check with the principal of your community school for the date.

We know that there will never be a perfect plan. We know that our schools have vulnerabilities and it is our duty to address them. On March 13 th , we will be discussing with students about being aware of their environment and how not only to remain safe, but to Run, Hide, Fight, if necessary. This method may sound shocking, but it has been adopted by our state and we want you to be aware of the language of safety we will be using with your children. There is one thing of which I am certain and I hope this can give each of you comfort: the teachers, staff and administrators of this district are the most dedicated group of people we could ever hope for. I have no doubt of their sincerity to put the students first and do everything in their power to protect the precious lives of the children entrusted to them. 

Thank you,