The St. Clair R-XIII School District will be conducting a lockdown drill beginning at 9:30 a.m. on Tuesday, Jan. 29.
According to the school district, a letter is being sent home to all parents and guardians on Wednesday announcing the drill. A reminder phone blast message is scheduled to be sent at about 6 p.m. on Monday, Jan. 28, the day before the planned drill.
“The school district has been diligently working with local and county law enforcement agencies and other area school district leaders to strengthen our crisis plan, specifically in the area of lockdown procedures,” Assistant Superintendent Mark Denbow states in the letter being sent home to parents. “Our goal now is to work with all stakeholders to prepare, train and rehearse these procedures.”
The letter states that a copy of the district’s revised lockdown procedures also were sent home to adults.
“Please note that in an active shooter lockdown and/or lockdown, no one will be permitted to enter or leave the buildings,” Denbow states in the letter. “Also, when any level of lockdown is activated, all district buildings, including the Franklin County Cooperative, will be on lockdown. We encourage you to cooperate with the district and understand that our procedures will strictly be followed for the safety of everyone.”
The letter also states that, per the district’s communication plan, all staff and parents will be notified at the beginning and upon the conclusion of any future lockdown drill or actual lockdown crisis.
“The drill will reflect a lockdown of all buildings,” Superintendent Mike Murphy told The Missourian. “We will not have anyone posing as an intruder in our buildings. Focus will be on district communication to staff, students and parents.
“All employees and the co-op are planning to participate and follow the guidelines recommended for a lockdown. Our school resource officer will be reviewing response time to a building as part of the process.
Murphy said the intent is “to practice our procedures in the buildings and evaluate communication to staff, students and parents.”
St. Clair Police Department Chief Bill Hammack and Franklin County Sheriff’s Office Lt. Steve Elliott discussed safety and security procedures with the R-XIII School District administration and board of education during its January meeting.
They stressed awareness as being one of the keys to successfully handling a lockdown situation as well as cooperation of everyone involved.
Murphy said during that meeting that the district has had lockdown procedures in place for several years. However, in the wake of last month’s tragic shooting deaths of 20 students and six adults in Sandy Hook Elementary School in Connecticut, those policies are being reviewed and updated, and administrators, faculty and staff will be retrained in how to best handle an emergency situation.
“Communication will be a point of emphasis we now will practice,” Murphy said during the school board meeting. “We will practice this process. The next steps will be to initiate drill processes and move toward any kind of training.”
The superintendent emphasized that parents will be receiving a call from the district indicating the drill is in progress during the school day. He said a second message will be sent indicating an all-clear.
Individuals with questions may contact the central office at 636-629-3500.