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Supt. Kuzniewski on District 201’s Emergency Protocol

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05.07.13. Berwyn, IL.  Photo by Glenn Kaupert.

 Superintendent Kuzniewski’s Message on District 201’s Emergency Protocol

To the Morton Community,

We would like to think that an emergency situation would never occur to us.  On most days throughout the country, schools, businesses and daily lives of the average citizens are not affected by the possibilities of imminent harm or danger. However, there are times when a possible emergency situation presents itself, and the preparation for how we act in that situation determines the results, or how effectively the situation is managed.

Understanding that the possibilities of emergency situations can occur anywhere, we want you to be aware that all of our schools have made preparations to respond effectively to such situations. In fact, we have developed our plans in conjunction with our local first responders in compliance with Illinois Emergency Management Agency and federal protocols. We conduct periodic drills to evaluate the level of our preparation for all emergency situations with our local first responders.

Should we have a situation on any of our Campuses, know that your student(s) will be cared for at our schools.  Our District has a detailed emergency plan which has been formulated to respond to different emergency scenarios, and we have drilled each to improve our actions.  A campus lockdown might be initiated for a variety of reasons including natural disasters, criminal activity, or another potential threat. While most campus lockdowns will directly involve the school campus itself, school officials may order a lockdown because of a dangerous situation that has occurred near the campus. A lockdown may be called because of a suspected threat or because of a warning that a dangerous event may possibly take place. School officials take information they receive very seriously and prefer to err on the side of caution when it comes to protecting students and staff from danger. The length of time that a lockdown lasts depends upon the situation that has occurred and how quickly school personnel and local law enforcement officers can resolve the situation and secure the safety of the entire campus.

Any incident is under the control of a Unified Command which includes first responders and school official. These procedures may be initiated by the local or state police, fire department, public safety commission, or a member of the staff or community who has verifiable information about a threat.

Everyone will be clearly informed that the campus has been placed on lockdown because of an emergency situation. During the campus lockdown, school personnel and first responders will be working to contain the threat and to apprehend any perpetrator involved. Once the situation is brought under control, the Unified Command will signal and declare that the entire campus is once again safe and normal activities can resume.

We need your help and cooperation while the school may be experiencing an actual event, knowing that the safety and welfare of your student(s) is the utmost concern.

In the event of an emergency, we ask:

  • Parents seek and rely only on the information supplied from the Unified Command which will be released through the authorized district and community media (school and Municipal websites, the school twitter).  The Unified Command will also send robo calls, emails and text messages to parents, students and staff to inform them of the incident when it is safe to do so and the investigation is complete.
  • Please do not contact the school during any emergency. Not only are telephone lines needed, but school personnel must be allowed to fulfill their expected roles without interruption.  In addition, we want to give all parents factual information, and if we disperse information without knowing all of the facts, the messages will be inconsistent and may appear to be untrue.
  • Do not come to the school during an incident as this only hinders the efforts of the first responders to control the situation.

Thank you and remember that “Everyday is a great day to be a Mustang”

Sincerely,

Dr. Michael Kuzniewski

Superintendent

J. Sterling Morton High School District 201

Michael Flaherty

Blogger, Writer at Illinois News Network
Michael Flaherty is a veteran writer, blogger and media analyst. Email him at [email protected]