Lockdowns, Liaisons and school safety

By Clare Superintendent Doniel Pummell

9-20-13 doni pummel headshot“The 21st Century has begun as an era of uncertainty, with a heightened focus on security and public safety.” Gavin Newsom
I would guess that most of you remember participating in Fire and Tornado Drills when in school. But, none of you would have done “LOCKDOWN” drills or Shelter-in-place drills. Currently, schools are required to do 6 fire, 2 tornado and 2 lockdown drills. They are performed annually to total 10 drills.

Over the years, school staff has participated in trainings to overhaul and revamp crisis and drill plans. The goal is to improve processes and procedures for safety. With the support and assistance of state and local law enforcement, schools have greatly improved procedures. In addition, each and every time a “drill” or actual procedure is initiated, a debriefing happens with local agencies to discuss ways to improve the process. Clare Public Schools is lucky to have the City Police Department and Fire Departments so close. Emergency personnel have always responded immediately to our needs.

Nearly 100% of the time, it is our local law officials that direct us to go into a “lockdown” if a threat is present, or if they are conducting a drill. We then follow all of their directives in such a situation. Again, we are very lucky to have such a professional and responsive unit right in our backyard. There are a few highlights that parents and community may like to know related to this type of situation.

The district will contact families as soon as we are permitted. It is a compromise to students and staff safety to make contact without clearance from law officials. In all cases, drill or threat, the communication format used will be the School Messenger System as soon as the district is granted permission by law officials.

There is one final note related to drills and lockdowns. The Clare Administrative Team is in review of all plans for this year. We will work collaboratively with local law officials to ensure that we keep our plans as up to date and effective as possible. “At the end of the day, the goals are simple: safety and security.”Jodi Rell

The Clare District is working with the City to secure a Liaison Officer. The City wrote a “Cops in Schools” grant.

Unfortunately this grant was not funded. As an alternative, the district set aside the same amount of money this year as we did last year. The money funded a part-time officer for the schools last year. This year the City informed the school that it will not fund the same coverage this year. However, we are planning to meet to work towards some amount of committed coverage. In the meanwhile, the City has been fantastic in servicing the schools.

We are very grateful to Brian David, Greg Kolhoff and many others for their dedication to the students and the schools. I am optimistic and positive related to this situation. Chief Gregory, City Manager, Ken HIbl and I will collaborate and make something great happen!

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