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posted Feb 15, 2018, 8:44 AM by lkoller@mtephraimschools.com   [ updated Feb 15, 2018, 8:50 AM ]
Please listen to the audio at this link....http://cnn.it/2CmQVbQ

I know ONE teacher in the state of Florida...and wouldn't you know....it's Jim Gard.  Jim and I have been friends since kindergarten and still keep in touch via FB communicating regularly about our profession and our home roots.  I texted him yesterday to see if he was alright and when I look back, the time was exactly when he was in lock down.  As you can hear, he and his students were evacuated safely.

Jim brings up two excellent points in his story.  He was able to lock his classroom door from the inside and he was also able to receive public address messages from administration.  

Please take a minute to THANK OUR BOARD OF EDUCATION for ensuring that MEPS has these capabilities as of this very school year.  All of our classroom and office doors in both schools can now be locked from the inside "in a heartbeat".  And as of spring break, we will have the capability to communicate between buildings and throughout all areas of each building via the public address system in any type of emergency (something we can do now only after several complicated steps and only in certain areas of each building). If finances allow, we will also have strobe lights installed in our gyms and cafeterias as well as immediately outside our entrance doors which will provide visual notification of emergency situations in locations where auditory announcements are difficult.

By law, we must have one fire drill and one emergency drill each month at each school during the school year.  (Learn more here: https://sites.google.com/a/mtephraimschools.com/mepsweb/Our-District/school-security-drills

There are several types of emergency drills:
** Bomb Threat
** Building Evacuation
** Lock Down
** Active Shooter  

Each type of drill is practiced for a different purpose and requires different procedures to be carried out by staff and students.  Once or twice each school year, we invite ME Police and Fire Departments to join us during our drills to provide feedback on how we can improve our response as well as to refine processes between our organizations. 

A DRILL......  
When a drill is called in either school, we do not identify it as a "drill" to staff or students.  Students and staff must respond to every emergency notification as if it is "real".  Once following procedure, our teachers will inform students that it is a drill and that they are safe. This will always happen before dismissal. 

We do not send out communication blasts to inform parents that we ran a drill.

If a parent drives by the school and sees police or fire trucks outside and you do not receive a blast or notification - it is safe to assume we were running a drill.  You do not have to be alarmed.  If by any chance your child comes home still fearful that the drill was real, if you did/do not hear otherwise from us, it is safe to assure them that it was only a drill.

Sometimes these things happen.  If an emergency is called and a teacher does not know whether it is a drill or not, they will follow appropriate procedures and keep students safe and calm until they receive further instructions.  Staff and students will be notified that a false alarm occurred and students will be assured by their teachers that they are safe.

If a false alarm of any sort takes place, parents will receive a notification of such.  
** If the false alarm was minor and short, the notification may come via our district website, social media, email, text, or an electronic telephone blast.  
** If the false alarm was more lengthy, a telephone blast will be sent with a personally recorded message from me or Mr. Hunter, in addition to the previously identified communication methods.

If a real threat presents itself, parents WILL receive a communication blast or an appropriate notification of what was/is taking place as soon as is possible.  In the case of any real threat, once law enforcement arrives, they take over and school officials follow their directions as given.  When law enforcement arrives, school officials are no longer in charge and are moved into a support role. 
** If the threat is found to be nonevident, minor and short, your notification may come via our district website, social media, email, text, or a recorded telephone blast.  
** If the threat was real, more serious, and lengthy, a telephone blast will be sent with a personally recorded ma variety of other communication methods.