[BHS Etree] School Safety Awareness

BHS etree bhs at lists.lmi.net
Tue Oct 22 07:22:43 PDT 2013

Dear Parents and Staff:

Today's incident at Sparks Middle School in Nevada is a tragic reminder 
of how necessary it is for us to consistently review school policies, 
protocols, and contingencies for responding to an emergency situation 
whether it is an issue of violence or a disaster.

Last week, under the direction of our Dean of Students, Ardarius 
McDonald, we participated in the Great California Shake Out to prepare 
for a potential earthquake. Our safety staff is reviewing the feedback 
and observations from that drill to prepare for a more robust drill this 
winter that will feature a simulated activation of our Incident Command 
System and staff-populated response teams for fire suppression, 
first-aid, and light search and rescue.

Elsewhere, for the past two years we have, in conjunction with the 
Berkeley Police Department, run simulations of a campus lockdown, a 
protocol wherein we completely secure the campus in response to a 
potentially violent threat. In fact, last spring, on March 20, after an 
incident in downtown Berkeley, and on the advice of BPD, we actually did 
secure the campus with that protocol. In general terms we believe that 
our responses with both the drills and the actual initiation of the 
protocol were effective, yet we are always evaluating 
and reevaluating these responses toward improvement. We will rehearse 
and drill this protocol again in the near future with BPD.

One simple but critical reminder you can give students at any time is 
that if they are out of class when a lockdown is initiated, they are to 
proceed to the nearest classroom or safe/secure space even if it is not 
their classroom. This sounds obvious, but amidst chaos and panic in a 
situation where the threat may not be directly visible to a student, 
there may be a tendency to attempt to return to familiar or assigned 
spaces. This is not what we want students to do so please review with 
them the idea that if a campus lockdown is initiated they are to move 
into the /nearest classroom or safe space even if that classroom is not 
one that they are assigned to./

*I by no means want to cause folks unnecessary anxiety, yet today we are 
again sadly reminded of the persistent need to keep these concerns at 
the forefront of our thinking. *


Pasquale Scuderi


Berkeley High School


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