The first weeks of school parents get stacks of papers to review, possibly including emergency preparedness plans. After the events of Newtown, CT, it might be time to pull out them out again.
If you can't readily find them, the Mountain View Whisman School District has emergency plans on their website. (We've also included them with this article.) Analogous plans for the Mountain View-Los Altos Union High School District have not been updated on their website; however the district briefly describes some of their procedures.
In essence, both school districts conducts annual regular evacuation drills for , etc.
Both also practice "code red" drills, which trigger a lockdowns.
According to the MVWSD emergency action guide, a lockdown is initiated to isolate students and staff from danger within the school. Lockdown may not be preceded with any warning and could be used for:
- Animal on campus
In a code red lockdown the teachers and staff proceed as follows:
- Doors must be locked.
- Blinds/curtains must be closed.
- Students must huddle in a corner away from doors and windows or lay flat on the floor and must remain quiet.
- Barricades must be built.
The principal must:
- Make the lockdown announcement and clearly call it a "code red" or "code blue." (code blue involves sheltering in place, but no barricades or hiding.)
- Call 911.
- When clearance is received from appropriate agencies, give the all clear instruction to indicate that it is safe to unlock the doors and return to normal classroom routine.
The Mountain View Police Department works closely with the school district in more than just code red drills.
According to public information officer Sergeant Dan Vicencio, the department has two full-time officers dedicated to School Resource Officers (SROs), who visit the schools from Monday through Friday and cover grade K-12.
"These are the first responders insofar as school issues," Vicencio said. "Whether with issue of staff and students, the SROs are the first there."
However, he made clear that the SROs might not be onsite if a major incident occurred at one particular school.
In that case, the schools "do have policies in place in case of a rapid response, for something like an active-shooter."
"Law enforcement learned from Columbine, because of the waiting for back up," he said. "There is a loss of valuable time."
He added that schools created these emergency plans to respond immediately and not have to wait until a police command center is put in place.
And just like the brave teachers at Sandy Hook Elementary School, Vicencio explained that even though the school grounds are open in Mountain View, school security personnel and teachers can challenge anyone on school grounds, who isn’t supposed to be there.
But in case of an emergency, remember to follow the policies dictated by your school district. Also, remember to follow Mountain View Patch because we'll be right there with you though it all.
Do you think school district's should publish emergency plans online? If so, how much information should they make available? Tell us in comments.
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