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Director's Dispatch: Student Safety and Security

The safety and security of our students is our top priority.  The school administration works closely with a range of organizations to make sure our campus is secure and that we have good information about what is going on in the city.

We work closely with the U.S. Embassy Regional Security Officers.   In fact, ISD is a member of the Overseas Security Council (OSAC), a partnership between the U.S. Embassy and private organizations that are based in Senegal with a connection to the United States. OSAC meets regularly to share information about Dakar and Senegal. The OSAC leadership provides regular updates on events that could impact the security situation for its members.  An example of this support was the real-time information we received from OSAC about last Friday’s events.

Another security measure we have in place is the three armed Senegalese Gendarme on site every school day.  These are in addition to our own security staff, who monitor the individuals permitted on campus.  Finally, we receive security updates from a variety of other embassies and organizations through our parent community. 

Having accurate and timely information is essential.  The connections listed above help make sure we have the information we need to make decisions in the best interest of our students.

Like many of you, on Friday ISD administration heard there would be demonstrations at the university. In the early afternoon our security partners informed us there was a potential that the demonstrations could move away from the university and closer to the ISD campus.  At that point, the ISD administration decided to send all students home at the close of the school day and cancel Friday evening events.

We chose to cancel the events for two reasons. First, based on the most current information there was an opportunity to get everyone home without disruptions or congested traffic. Second, we wanted all of our students to be able to enjoy the planned elementary dance and middle school movie night.   There was concern that some parents would not allow their students to come to the evening events as a result of the demonstrations. By re-scheduling the events to a later date, all students would have the opportunity to attend.

Over the next few months, we will continue to communicate with all of our official and unofficial partner organizations. When situations arise, we will make the most prudent decisions to make sure the students are safe. Our main vehicle for communication will be through email, as well as, phone messages when possible.  Older students may be asked to call their parents if there is an urgent message to share.  Lastly, if needed, we will post information on the school website. However the intent is to keep our regular schedule of events as much as possible.

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