Report by Paula Antolini
February 28, 2018 2:30PM EDT
BPS Superintendent Dr. Carver Provides Overview of Safety Terms Regarding School Drills and Real Emergencies
Message from Dr.Christine Carver, Superintendent of Bethel Public Schools:
As most of you are aware, the Bethel Public Schools (BPS) performs practice safety and security drills with our students on a regularly scheduled basis. The purpose of these drills is to equip our students with the skills to deal with different types of emergencies. Students and staff participate in drills in a variety of settings (classroom, transition times, etc.). These drills have been a regular part of our practice for years. As I stated in our recent Parent University Safety and Security Pre-Session, when conducting these drills, we strive to balance equipping our students with those skills in a developmentally appropriate manner, without increasing anxiety or worry.
It has been our practice to conduct the drills both announced and unannounced. Given the recent incident in Florida, we all have a heightened awareness of the concerns students have, even when participating in drills. Therefore, while we normally will not publicly advise people of the drill prior to it occurring, we have decided to send you notice of some upcoming drills, likely the evening before. When we resume our unannounced drills, we will commit to emailing you after the drill to communicate the type of drill that was conducted and talking points to discuss with your child.
At our Parent University Safety and Security Pre-Session we reviewed terms we use with students which are often associated with drills. I thought that it would be important to provide all our stakeholders an overview of the terms:
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Hold: A hold is when we ask students to stay in classrooms for a very short period of time. It is typically not associated with any threat. Students and staff are not locked in and visitors can come in the building. An example of a hold is when a staff member or student needs to be transported by ambulance for a medical reason. We would not typically notify parents of a hold, unless there was an unusual experience.
Lock Down: Lockdown is when an intruder or criminal act is occuring in the building. Students and staff go into a locked space, out of view. Other than law enforcement, no one would be allowed in or out of the buildings. We would notify parents by email, phone or text if we have any type of lock down (actual) and by email only (drill).
Shelter in Place: Shelter in Place is typically related to a weather emergency. We would ask students and staff to stay in place, but they would not be locked inside. We typically do not drill for shelter in place. We would notify parents by phone, text and/or email if we had a shelter in place experience.
Evacuation: Evacuation drills are when we practice evacuating the building, the most typical is a fire drill. If there is an actual evacuation parents would be notified by phone, text and/or email. If it is a drill, we will notify you by email.
If you find your child has an unusual amount of anxiety regarding drills or school safety in general, please don’t hesitate to call your school administrator and we will work individually to support your child.