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How Campbell Schools Prepare in Times of Emergencies

The shooting at Sandy Hook Elementary brings school safety top of mind.

 

Each school addresses safety in the event of an emergency differently but all Campbell school district officials say they take it seriously.

Regular evacuation drills for are done periodically within school districts.

At Campbell Union School District, every school campus has a pre-determined meeting area that all of the school's faculty knows about. Each classroom has an emergency kit in it and each teacher is responsible for going out with it. Every teacher is CPR certified.

Contact information is key to school districts being able to effectively communicate with parents and guardians in times of emergency.

At Moreland School District, Blackboard Connect is used to send notifications out to parents both through automated phone calls and emails to those that provide both.

"This year, we introduced Twitter as well," said Colette Zea, assistant superintendent of human resources. "These are mostly for general news but in the event of an emergency will also be used to send out information."

Campbell school districts say that keeping contact information up-do-date as well as making sure all adults cleared to pick up children are on the proper forms should be top of mind.

This last part plays a crucial role in the abilty to pick up children during/after an emergency.

During the event of an actual saftey emergency, local police, either Campbell or San Jose police will issue a "lock down" or "shelter in place" to keep schools safe.

A shelter-in place is similar to a lockdown with the exception that the "danger" is not on campus.

Code Blue is part of a system in place at local schools that help police keep students and staff safe. It translates into keeping students and staff indoors and alert of any suspicious activity nearby.

"A Code Blue just says, in essence, don’t go outside," said Terry Peluso, executive director of student services in a previous interview. "It would be whatever classroom you are in; stay there until you hear differently."

There is one more level higher: a Code Red.

"It means stay in your classroom, lock your door, get to a corner of the room, barricade the door and stay as inconspicuous as possible, and police will actually come onto campus when it is safe to let students out, one room at a time," he said. "This would be used if there was a suspicion of someone armed on campus."

The two are usually issued by the local police department working a case but can also be issued by the school district as a precaution.

After this, notification is made to parents at each school

"Ordinarily, a message would come from the school," Peluso said. "Ordinarily, unless its prolonged, it would not come during the actual emergency."

The reason for this, he said, is three-fold:

• In the first place, during such an event, school officials have an immediate concern: the safety of students and staff. It is not a time where they would dedicate their time to get a message out to every parent.

• A second reason is that police don’t want parents at the school. First of all, it makes a traffic jam, and there's nothing parents can do. Secondly it creates a whole new set of people that are not sheltered and have to protect instead of the students at the school.

• Under these circumstances, police do not want to encourage a lot of cellphone traffic. If you get a lot of cellphone traffic back and forth, it overloads the system, and then no cellphone communication can get through. So if police officers are using the cellphone network in that area as a secondary form of communication, they can’t, because it’s overloaded. And that impedes safety. You want to make sure that police under those circumstances can do their job.

Laurie December 15, 2012 at 09:00 AM
In her efforts to make her children feel loved, among other things a teacher hiding her children away from the shooter at Sandy Hook told them while they were hiding that they would make it to Christmas (per Cynthia McFadden on ABC's Nightline tonight). If this were virtually any other time, the teacher and the school probably would be sued by the ACLU and other liberal ilk for such an overt display of Christianity. Socialism is killing America.

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