School Emergencies – Tips for Parents
When you become aware of a school emergency, the first instinct as a parent is to pick up the telephone and call the school or rush to the school and get your child. Unfortunately, this only complicates matters from a safety standpoint and, if first responders are called to assist the school, this will only interfere with the efforts of police and fire officials to respond.
The following are helpful steps parents can take to respond in a school emergency:
The school district uses a callout system and several other methods to notify parents of emergencies.
- DO ensure that your child’s emergency contact information is accurate and current.
- DO keep your telephone line open for updates.
- DO check the school's Facebook page. Information about the emergency will be posted and updated there.
- DO check the HCSD Mobile App and follow your child's school to receive notifications.
PICKING UP YOUR CHILD
During any school emergency, staff are fully focused on handling the situation and no one will be allowed on campus.
- DO NOT rush to the school. You may interfere with emergency personnel who are responding to school and students may not be checked out during the emergency.
CONTACTING YOUR CHILD
Duing any school emergency, school staff will be attending to the emergency and will not answer phones. Phone calls to the school will be re-directed to a district call center. The call center staff will provide updated information about the situation as available.
- DO NOT phone your child or school staff. During an emergency, they are discouraged from using phones for safety concerns.
Ongoing communication and updates will be provided via the school district’s Public Information Officer, local media outlets, social media, and callout/email systems. If a facility needs to be evacuated, the relocation site will be shared with the community at that time. Parents will be directed to the relocation site for reunification. Students cannot be released until authorized by law enforcement or fire officials. Students will be released ONLY to parents/guardians who are documented as emergency contacts and who present a picture ID such as a driver’s license, military ID or passport. The reunification process can be time-consuming so parents are urged to be patient.
TERMS USED IN SCHOOL EMERGENCIES
School emergencies may take several forms:
- Weather related - tornado, lightning, etc.
- All schools have a safety plan in place in the event of a storm-related emergency. This detailed plan prioritizes all steps including contacting emergency personnel, notification of families & evacuation of students, if needed.
- Threat against an individual or the school:
- Whether it is an allegation, a social media rumor, gossip on campus or information received from a tip, school staff treat all threats seriously.
- Staff investigate the incident promptly and efficiently.
- All schools use support staff and external resources as a part of a multidisciplinary threat assessment team to evaluate threats.
- School administration take appropriate disciplinary and criminal enforcement action.
- Begin to document the threat and actions taken.