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Letter from the Superintendent, about Crisis Drills

October 18, 2018

Crisis Dills

Today our families, schools and communities live in a society that is experiencing ever-increasing difficulty with individuals unwilling/unable to handle personal, social, and life issues.  The struggles experienced through bullying, social isolation, family problems, suicidal issues and mental illness generate antisocial behavior that creates hostile acting-out toward society.  School exposure occurs as these individuals elect to inflict harm to our children and staff.  Wakefield Community Schools, in an effort to keep our children and staff as safe as possible, conduct crisis safety drills to improve student and staff preparedness. 

Like fire drills, the goals is to increase school safety through active participation.  Tomorrow’s drill will help our teams identify weaknesses in our crisis planning and provide reports for improvement.  A side benefit of the offsite drill is the related training to other safety situations like a building fire that will require offsite removal of all students.  This year for example, a suite case is available at each church that includes additional materials like games and activities for the students as they await the reunification. This recommendation came from the staff recommendations from last spring’s crisis drill. 

Continued development of our crisis plan is a collaborative team process involving teachers, staff, law enforcement, county emergency management, city personnel, students and parents.  As your Superintendent, I am pleased with the crisis drill process that no only improves our skills, creates revisions to our crisis plans, and ultimately addresses the school community’s safety needs should such a tragic event occur in Wakefield.  I trust you will feel confidence about the safety concern our school district has for your son or daughter.   Our drills continue to increase in complexity as we have moved from the basic “lock-out and lock-down” within the school, to evacuating the buildings, and now to expanding our reunification process. 

Tomorrow sixth and ninth grade parents that are able to participate will help with a two-grade reunification with parents.  We are asking parents that are able to volunteer to come to the churches and participate in the reunification process.  We plan to reintegrate as many parents and family members as possible.  Additionally to this process, the nutrition department is planning to serve lunches at the offsite locations.  We know in a real situation that the entire reunification process will take hours to complete and we will need to feed the children.  Again, drilling this process will allow everyone involved to gain insights into this component should it be needed. 

Following the crisis drill (around 1:00), staff, law enforcement, county emergency management and school observers will meet to conduct a debriefing of the drill.  This process will identify strengths and weaknesses in our planning.  This will result in recommendations for improvement, which will be new components in our next crisis drill next spring.  I want to thank everyone who will participate tomorrow helping our school plan for a crisis and most importantly keep our children as safe as possible.

Sincerely,

Mark Bejot, Superintendent

Letter from the Superintendent, about Crisis Drills

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