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December 14, 2012

Area schools talk response to school shooting

Greater Clark, West Clark say communication with students depends on age

(Continued)

> SOUTHERN INDIANA — SAFETY PLANS

Ralston said the school corporation has a crisis response plan. Within each building, there is also a plan for that specific school.

“We do have a comprehensive plan,” he said. “In Indiana, all schools are required to have a comprehensive safety program.”

Schneider said each of the schools in the West Clark district has their own emergency preparedness plan. He said each school has a committee that meets to develop a plan specific to that school, which also falls within state guidelines. The safety plans are updated each year and reviewed after events like the tornado that struck Henryville High School last March.

“We make safety improvements all the time to try and make things safer,” Schneider said. “There’s nothing more important to anybody than their kids. I understand the concern parents have for their kids.”

An extensive safety plan provided by West Clark included a host of scenarios and their appropriate responses, including instances where weapons may be brought to a school, bomb threats or natural disasters.

The plan is developed along with local public safety officials and within 60 days of the beginning of the school year, the superintendent reviews and revises the plan, if necessary. Safety measures, which have also increased over time are included in the plan. Among the security measures are limiting public entrances to the front office, locking all other doors, requiring ID badges to be worn at all times along with security cameras throughout the schools.

For school districts like Greater Clark, the tragedy in Connecticut will also inform them.

Ralston said he’ll be watching for details about how the Sandy Hook Elementary School handled the situation, then review its own policies.

“We can go back and look how they responded and look at our policy here that we can tweak,” he said.

New Albany-Floyd County and Clarksville schools were contacted for this story, but did not provide comment by press time.

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