Posted Date: 09/12/2018
For years, emergency preparedness in a school setting meant practicing drills for potential tornados or fire. With the increase of violent crimes on school grounds in recent years, the state of Kansas decided to revise the kinds of emergency measures school students should be practicing.
Up to this year, legislation required schools to conduct one fire drill each month and three tornado drills a year. The state suggested, but did not require, intruder/lock down drills.
As of July 1, schools are mandated to conduct 16 emergency preparedness drills over the course of the school year. Of those, four will be fire drills, three will be tornado drills, and nine will be crisis drills that may include intruder response and lock down drills.
Legislation also prohibits announcing the drills beforehand. An exception to this rule is a five minute notice to teachers who work with students who may become upset or whose behavior may escalate due to such drills.
“Safety has always been a top priority in Chanute Public Schools so the implementation of the new legislative initiative will not be a major shift in how we conduct school business,” said Assistant Superintendent Kent Wire. “It will consume more instructional minutes out of the school year, however, our approach to this is, if our students and staff are safer, and feel safer, these will be minutes well spent.”
In compliance with this new law, Chanute Public Schools will conduct the following crisis drills during the 2018-19 school year:
Non-intruder Lock Down Drill - twice
Used when building classrooms need to be locked down in order to fully restrict student and staff travel in the hallways. Purpose: This could be used when local law enforcement bring in drug dogs to sweep/check lockers, if a suspicious person has been reported in the building, or when a student or staff member is in a medical crisis and administration wants to restrict traffic or visual access.
Shelter in Place (SIP) Drill - once
Used to limit exposure of people to dangerous situations. Purpose: This could be used in the case of toxic environmental spills, dangerous gas leaks, or anhydrous ammonia accidents.
Chanute Public Schools adopted ALICE preparedness training several years ago. ALICE is an active response plan to a violent shooter/killer in the building. It is an acronym for possible responses in the unlikely case there is an active shooter/killer on the property.
A Alert - Announce to all staff there is a violent intruder in the building
L Lock Down
I Inform - Appropriate staff provides information as to the specific location of the intruder. Other actions are triggered by knowing where the intruder is
C Counter - if face to face with the violent intruder, teachers/students/staff practice counter measures
E Evacuate - if possible, classrooms of students flee the area to create space between student and the intruder
ALICE Evacuation Drill - twice
ALICE Lock Down Drill (enhanced lock down, barricade of doors) - twice
ALICE Counter Drill – twice
“It's important to note that drills will be shaped and adjusted to be grade level and age appropriate,” Wire said. “We want to make each of these preparedness drills a learning, training experience for our students.”
The school district has also taken steps to enhance student safety by hiring police officer Brent Wright as a School Resource Officer. Through a cooperative agreement with Chanute PD, he will be walking the hallways, interacting with students and building positive relationships inside the district’s schools. The district’s plan is to add a second SRO, when possible.
New cameras in and around the school buildings were installed over the summer to provide better coverage in all areas. Enhanced door security was also put in place to insure visitors enter through the primary check in location at each school.