There has been a lot of attention paid to emergency preparedness in recent years due to a spate of very high-profile emergency situations involving schools. Regardless of the type of emergency, there are several important things for all parents to keep in mind during these very difficult situations.
What follows is a guide for parents that will outline how parents can respond proactively in emergency situations and what communications they can expect from the District.
- Our families are our number one priority: In an emergency situation, our first responsibility with regard to communication is our staff, students and their parents. While we understand that emergency situations often elicit a lot of attention from media outlets, keeping our school community informed will be the focus of our attention.
- Stay calm and wait for official communications: We realize that this can be very difficult because accurate information is rarely instantaneous. Our goal is to provide accurate information in the most timely manner possible without embellishment or speculation that is often found elsewhere online. Fortunately, most school districts in 2018 have district-wide communications platforms that can disseminate information via phone, text and e-mail in a short period of time. Please share only official sources (school district, law enforcement, etc.) online so as not to pass along misinformation and cause undue panic.
- Every situation is different: Since no two emergency situations are exactly alike, our approach to communication can be uniform even though the specificity of the information can vary greatly. There are situations that can occur during a crisis that limit our ability to share information. We will not, for example, share information that could hinder the efforts of first responders. Information is unique in that it can save lives and also endanger them, so we must be judicious.
- Please do not call the school: In an emergency situation, it is vital to keep lines of communication open for the purposes of contact with law enforcement and first responders. Our goal is to get accurate information out as soon as possible to the people who need the information most, and we cannot do that if we are being inundated with calls. If you have pertinent information about the emergency itself, call the police.
- Please do not go to the school: We understand that in a crisis, rushing to the scene is instinctual for many parents. That said, this rush can hinder the movement of first responders. This is especially critical when the emergency involves injured students or staff that need to be transported to a hospital.
- Keep your smartphone nearby: Another benefit of modern technology is the smartphone. Most of the information you will need in an emergency situation coming from The District or local law enforcement will be accessible on your smartphone via messaging from our notification system (School Messenger) or social media. If you have not already, please make sure you are tied in to the District Facebook page or Twitter. Updates on those platforms are instantaneous.
Finally, a friendly reminder about an important upcoming event: At 6:30 p.m. on March 13, 2018, the District will host a parent forum on school safety at the Lapeer High School Auditorium. The forum will be facilitated by Superintendent Matt Wandrie, Lapeer County Sheriff Scott McKenna and Lapeer City Police Chief Dave Frisch.