D-26 Makes Changes to Emergency Plan
Changes come amid Nov. 7 police standoff.
Superintendent Brian Coleman presented updated changes to the Cary School District 26 emergency plan in wake of a standoff incident that occurred Nov. 7.
The incident, which transpired in the Foxford Hills neighborhood, coincided with the dismissal time of students in district 26.
Frank M. Vantrepotte of 1000 Nighthawk Way was charged with reckless discharge of a firearm for allegedly shooting a handgun in the direction of a woman, the Northwest Herald originally reported.
After receiving a call from a dispatcher from SEECOM advising Coleman to not send buses through the neighborhood of the accident, he decided to put the schools in a general lockdown.
Coleman said there were many issues on that Monday of the incident but two primary concerns arose, which was the timing and quality of the instant alert message system and the release of students to parents or adults listed on the emergency contact list.
Kurt Kaiser, who's a community engagement committee member said what troubled him was the length of time that passed before Coleman and the district was alerted.
"I saw police cars going by at noon and it took two hours, that was a long time, that could have given you guys more time to plan and execute," Kaiser said.
District administration has met with the Cary Police Department to assess the communication between the two bodies and changes have been implemented.
"It was a very challenging time for us because it was right around dismissal," Coleman said. "You can’t always plan when some things are going to happen, so the window of time for us to respond was very quickly."
"You’ll like to have a little bit more time to plan but you do the best you can with the situation you’re given," Coleman continued.
Honeywell Instant Alert for schools is a service that district 26 pays for and the system is designed to provide quick updates to parents and staff with emergency notifications.
However, after Coleman utilized the instant alert system, parents either received a partial message or a delayed message.
"I wasn’t happy with the results of course, and they did it hear from me, you call yourself instant alert, this is a time I need to get a message to my parents, and the system didn’t work for everyone and I have a issue with that," Coleman said.
The district is investigating with instant alert to figure out the notification issue.
Instant alert officials told Coleman that part of the problem was the overloading of cell phones and phone lines in the Cary area during the time of dismissal.
Coleman said there are several notification vendors out there and the district will choose another one if they can't get the issues resolved.
1. Gather information about the situation, record the findings, take steps requested by the authorities and determine time for next update.
2. Determine action and/or emergency plan to be taken based on findings and notify the primary administrator to implement plan.
3. Gather additional administration and support staff to assist in communication efforts.
4. Compose formal written statement notifying parents/stakeholders of the current situation and action that is being taken to ensure the safety of students.
Modes of Communication
1. Instant alert messaging system
2. Infinite Campus eblasts
3. Cary 26 website posting
4. Press release email distribution list
5. Secretary/receptionist phone script
Emergency Student Release Procedure
1. Parents or adults listed under a student's emergency contact list shall be allowed to pick up the student after showing proper identification.
2. During an emergency pick-up situation, parents or emergency contact will be allowed to enter the building and proceed directly to their child's classroom and have their child released by the classroom teacher.
3. Classroom teachers will be provided with a student release sign-out sheet along with copies of each student's emergency card with emergency contacts listed.
4. Teachers shall require adults picking up students to provide photo identification that matches the contact information on the emergency card.
5. Once identification is confirmed, the adult shall sign the child out and the teacher may release the student.
6. Any adult not on the emergency card or does not have proper identification shall be sent to the school office for verification.