With some of the confusion following the school closures in the northwest portion of our state we wanted to have a better idea of how our area's largest school district prepares for these emergency situations.
Every school system has to be prepared for the worst case scenario. Whether it's an actual school shooting like the one in Spokane County, Washington yesterday or the threat of violence like the one being investigated Thursday. Superintendent Terry Bouck assured parents that SD2 is ready to communicate.
Bouck released this statement Thursday regarding the emergency school closures in western Montana. He said, "I sympathize with those school districts that had to close due to senseless threats, however, it just highlights the need for communication and preparation."
KULR 8 asked the superintendent what steps are in place for school district 2 to keep the communications line open. Bouck said when a threat comes in there are a number of things that are required.
First, the school system must ascertain the nature of the threat to determine the level of action to be taken. Second, the school system will contact local law enforcement and in some cases, the FBI. Third, the schools system will determine potential risk to students, staff, parents and community. Next, a plan of action is determined and implemented in collaboration with law enforcement, local responders and Billings public schools. Finally, communication is a scripted and consistently distributed. This communication goes to school administrators, trustees, parents, first student (the bus service) and all staff with bulletins shared with the community and local media. Communication is enacted through through district and school newsletters through automated telephone messages and is shared on all school district websites.After a threat, the school system will implement emergency training. A debrief is standard protocol.
The superintendent wants to reiterate that the situation leading to the school closure today was unfortunate, but stresses student, staff and community safety is paramount.
Finally, the superintendent shared Thursday that SD2 has a new tool to help in emergency situations that we can expect to see rolled out in the coming months.