OPED: MSD’s Emergency Operations Plan

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MEEKER | While we are fortunate to live in the extremely safe community of Meeker, Colorado, it is still a necessity to prepare for a variety of emergencies in our school system. Meeker School District’s Emergency Operations Plan is intended to address these emergencies, and it is important for the school district to annually share the basics of the plan with parents and community members. The plan and supporting documents can be found at www.meeker.k12.co.us under the “Our District” tab. Annual review of the plan occurs by the district’s safety team and employees are continually updated and trained on the plan’s specifics. Additionally, cooperative efforts to strengthen the plan occur with, Meeker Police Department, the Rio Blanco County Office of Emergency Management, and other applicable county agencies.

Each school regularly practices the four common responses which occur in schools and are outlined in the emergency operations plan. The four common responses below. Please note the difference between lockout and lockdown.

Lockout–A lockout occurs when a potential threat exists outside the school building. The perimeter of the building is secured, but operations continue as normal inside the building.

Lockdown–A lockdown occurs when a threat is identified inside the building. Classroom doors are locked, lights are turned off, and teachers move students away from any line of sight into the classroom.

Evacuation–An evacuation occurs when students need to be removed from the building. A fire inside the building is a typical example of this response.

Shelter–Shelter is the least likely response to occur in our schools. This occurs when there is a need for students to take shelter, for example, due to a tornado.

More important than knowing how to respond in a school crisis event are efforts to prevent such events. In order to protect our students, each administrator and counselor in the school district has received threat assessment training. The processes and documents utilized in the Meeker School District’s threat assessments are based on research completed by the United States Secret Service.

If the school district receives a report that a student has made a threat of school violence, a threat assessment is conducted for that student. The threat assessment is conducted by at least two school district staff trained in threat assessment. Parents, law enforcement and other Rio Blanco County support agencies are involved as necessary. The purpose of the threat assessment is to determine if the individual who made the threat truly poses a threat to the safety and welfare of students and staff versus simply making a threat. Once this determination has been made, appropriate steps are taken by the school administration, and law enforcement when necessary, to guarantee the safety and welfare of all students and staff.

The Meeker School District is fortunate to have strong relationships with law enforcement agencies in our community. This relationship is essential in providing a safe learning environment for all students. We are also fortunate to have strong relationships with our students and their families. Acts of school violence are rarely carried out absent of warning signs. Our students and families have been wonderful partners in providing information to the school which helps ensure a safe school environment and we encourage them to maintain these open lines of communication regarding school safety.

Chris Selle

By CHRIS SELLE | MSD Superintendent

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