Keeping Students Safe in Our Schools
The safety and security of students is always a priority in Idaho Falls School District 91. In this age when unthinkable things sometimes occur in our schools, we want to assure parents and patrons the district has a number of policies, procedures and protocols in place to ensure the safety and security of our students and staff. We have emergency plans to deal with any number of situations. District officials regularly consult with local police and emergency services personnel to ensure our emergency plans and procedures are up-to-date.
In addition, schools are required to have emergency drills several times a year to ensure students and staff are prepared in case of an emergency. Sometimes those drills are held in conjuction with local emergency services personnel so don’t be alarmed if you see a police car or fire truck at a school. The drills include:
- Evacuations: Students and staff practice how to quickly and safely evacuate a building when it is determined that a location outside the school is safer than inside the school such as a fire or facility emergency.
- Shelter-in-Place: Students and staff practice how to safely remain indoors for a period of time in situations when there is a threat near a school such as a chemical or radiological incident.
- Lockdowns: Students and staff practice how to secure buildings and classrooms in situations when there is an immediate threat of violence in or around the school such as a weapon on campus.
- Student-Parent Reunification: Students and staff practice how families would be safely reunited if students are evacuated from school grounds and moved to an alternate site.
What Should Parents Do During a School Emergency?
In an emergency situation, our administrators’ first priority is to ensure the safety and security of our students and staff. They follow the policies and procedures the district has put in place to address emergencies. In these situations, we understand it is natural for parents to want to call or visit the school, but those calls and visits can actually hinder school staff and emergency personnel as they try to deal with emergency situations. Instead, here are some tips to help parents during an emergency.
- Watch for updates from official district sources. The district will share information as quickly as possible using a variety of tools, including texts, emails, the district’s website, the district’s automated calling system and local media such as newspaper, TV and radio.
- Be patient. The first few minutes of an emergency situation can be chaotic. It can take a little time to collect reliable information. As soon as that information is available, the district will share it with parents.
- Keep communications with your child short. It is natural for parents to want to get in touch with their child during an emergency. However, trying to call a child’s cell phone may prevent them from hearing important, life-saving information. Texting may be a better option, but keep the exchanges short. Before an emergency, talk to your child about what kind of information is helpful to share in these situations. For example, “I am safe” or “We’re being evacuated.”
- Be wary of initial reports. Information moves quickly today and often initial reports are inaccurate or just plain wrong. Watch for updates from official sources.