Safe Schools Committee discusses lockdown procedures during winter meeting
Tuesday the district’s Safe Schools Committee met to continue work on the district’s safe schools program.
Safe Schools Chair Mark Higgins provided an update on the debriefing of the Foss (Tacoma) High School shooting. He stressed the need for timely and accurate communications with First Responders (emergency personnel) and parents. He also said the district must continue to cross train for district/school Incident Command teams and develop professional relationships with law enforcement officials.
Safe Schools Law Enforcement Specialist and City of WW Police Officer Matt Wood presented information about acts of school violence in America in recent years. His message to the district stressed these situations can happen in Walla Walla. He praised the district for its Safe Schools efforts and pledged to continue working with the district to ensure our procedures and practices are aligned with law enforcement best practices.
Safe Schools Committee Crisis Prevention Specialist Mark Thompson stressed the need for data to help the district develop quality practices and programs to curb bullying. He created a checklist for principals to review current practices in place to address bullying. He asked school principals to survey their staff and students this spring. He said he will provide sample surveys for principals’ consideration.
Safe Schools Committee Crisis Management Specialist and Wa-Hi Assistant Principal Brett Cox reviewed standardized procedures for Evacuation and Lock-down. Cox recommended the district consolidate into the term “Evacuation Drills” for all bomb threat, fire, chemical spills and other hazards requiring the building to be cleared. He detailed procedures for evacuation which offer principals flexibility to meet their building needs. Evacuation drills must occur monthly at each school.
Cox went on to outline new procedures for lockdown. The district will use the terminology “Yellow Lockdown” and “Red Lockdown” depending on the circumstances and severity of the crisis.
Safe Schools Committee Post-Crisis Recovery Specialist and Wa-Hi Assistant Principal Matt Bona reviewed progress the district is making to bolster its Griefbusters Committee.
Bona said the district will work with Palouse Counseling to serve as the district’s lead agency for the Griefbusters program. Bona has secured Wa-Hi Health Clinician Susie Morris to serve as the district’s Griefbusters Coordinator – previously held by Green Park Health Clinician Mary Palotas. Mary is working with Susie to conduct a turnover of the position. One of their first orders of business will be to ensure each school has a Griefbusters kit and a team in place to use it.
Next Safe Schools meeting date:
Tuesday, May 22
9 to 10:30 a.m. (part of regularly scheduled Ad Council meeting)
District Board Room (364 S. Park St.)
Safe Schools Leadership Team
Mark Higgins, Chair
Matt Wood, Law Enforcement Specialist
Mark Thompson, Crisis Prevention Specialist
Brett Cox, Crisis Management Specialist
Matt Bona, Post-Crisis Recovery Specialist
Safe Schools Committee members
Anne Golden, School board
Don Marlatt, Emergency Management
Keri Abernathy, Emergency Medical Services
Harvey Crowder, Health Services Department
Wendell Prins, WA State Patrol
Terry Heisey, WW City Police
Brad Morris, WW City Fire Department
Scott Brashear, WW County Sheriff
Rocky Eastman, Fire District 4
Peggy Needham, Parent Involvement Specialist
R.L. Miller, WA State Patrol
(*NOTE: All Administrative Council members are also on the Safe Schools Committee)