WGSD Crisis Communications
In the event of a crisis, the district will notify parents as quickly as possible. Please know that safety for students and employees is always our primary goal.
What is the procedure when a crisis occurs?
The district, as well as all of the schools, have crisis plans to ensure safety for everyone in the building. When a crisis is reported, administrators will follow their plans. School personnel will work directly with police and or fire departments to ensure that everyone is safe.
In addition, district personnel will communicate with families, once facts have been gathered. The district will use telephone calls, e-mail, the web site and social media sites to provide information. Please remember that you may hear from your student through a text or call before you receive information from the district. Our challenge is to gather all facts first. Your student may communicate with you in real time. News outlets may report rumors based on what they hear on police scanners. We will do our best to act quickly and provide the most accurate information. Even in the best circumstances, our automatic calls and e-mails will take longer to notify you than social media postings and texts.
If we say that a school is on lockout but that there is no immediate danger, this is strictly precautionary. We are saying that something has happened at a school or in the community, but there is no need for immediate alarm. If there is a more serious situation, we will notify you by giving you as many details as possible as well as when and how you can expect additional information.
What can I do as a parent in the event of this type of situation?
Know that in a crisis, phone lines can become jammed and access to the school will be restricted. The District will initiate communications as quickly as possible and provide instructions for reuniting with your child if needed through a secure reunification process. However, our primary focus will be ensuring the safety of students and staff.
In order to ensure that you receive timely information, please make sure your contact information is updated at all times. Notify the school of any changes to your address, telephone numbers, and emergency contacts.
How have teachers and students been trained for crisis situations?
In partnership with the local police, the district’s training focuses on the 4E concept: Educate, Evade, Escape, and Engage.
- In the event of an actual crisis, students and staff are Educated with real-time information so that they can make decisions to ensure their safety.
- Students practice the Evade option during intruder drills. This option may be used if an intruder is too close for students to leave the building safely. This is practiced by locking doors and understanding what it means to barricade a room, if necessary.
- The Escape option may be used when students and staff have a safe exit path to quickly leave the building.
- The Engage option is practiced at the High School level. Students are told that they have the option of distracting an intruder and taught how to use this option for maximum effect.
What should I say to my child if he or she has concerns about an intruder coming into their school?
While the subject of intruders can be unsettling for students and staff, our ultimate goal is safety. If your child is concerned that something like this might happen at school, you can reassure him or her that while talking about this and doing drills may feel scary, such events are very rare and probably will never happen. You can also discuss the importance of being prepared and how we practice active intruder drills just as we practice fire drills. Teachers, too, will help students understand how to think and react in an emergency.
If you have questions or would like additional information, please John M. Thomas, director of student services, at 314-961-1233.