NORTH ADAMS -- School-wide lockdown and law enforcement safety drills are planned for Tuesday at Sullivan Elementary School and Drury High School.
According to a press release from the school district, today, parents and caregivers will receive phone calls through the School Messenger automatic call system to inform them that a practice lockdown drill will occur at their child’s school.
A lockdown is a security procedure used when there is an imminent danger inside or in close proximity to the school such as an intruder. A lockdown is designed to remove students from harm’s way in anticipation of police response.
School officials say parent support of school safety procedures is critical to the well-being of children and parents are urged to talk to their children about the purpose and seriousness of school safety drills. Parents are encouraged to visit napsk12.org and to read the "NAPS School Safety Brochure," which describes emergency management and communication procedures.
All classrooms in the North Adams Public Schools practice lockdown procedures on a regular basis. Participating officers are from units that would respond to an actual emergency event and include representatives from the North Adams Police Department, the Berkshire County Special Response Team and canine handlers from the Massachusetts Police Work Dog Association.
Regional law enforcement officers have been conducting training sessions in unoccupied schools to respond to potential threats such as a violent intruder or an active shooter. The law enforcement training includes the use of canines who have been trained to assist police by searching for missing persons, identified suspects, weapons and drugs.
North Adams Police Officer Zoito, a canine handler, has been visiting schools to familiarize the dog and the children with each other. Now, the schools and law enforcement will combine their efforts to enact larger scale and coordinated drills.
The goals of the coordinated drills are multi-fold: to prepare students and staff to effectively implement standardized safety procedures; to increase the capacity of police to effectively respond to a safety threat by familiarizing them with school buildings and school procedures; for school administrators and local law enforcement to practice together the use of the Incident Command System of the federal government’s National Incident Management System; and to observe and evaluate the drills for continuous improvement.
For more information, call the school district office at (413) 776-1458.