to School Safety Notes and Articles
From Superintendent of Vermilion Local School District:
School Lockdown/Emergency Drill Success Story.
Lt. Colonel Grossman,
met you when attending your program in Sandusky, Ohio at
NASA Glenbrook this past fall. I was quite taken with
your message. We spoke afterwards concerning our plans to
have a mock disaster drill in a school with students in session.
This drill would feature a scenario with two shooters and
a full compliment of police, SWAT, emergency management,
and Red Cross practicing and coordinating their efforts with
school personnel to neutralize the perpetrators, extricate
casualties, and return the school to a safe status.
We did conduct this exercise on March 31, 2004 at Sailorway
Middle School. It had been preceded by a parent meeting on
March 23, 2004, explaining the purpose of the drill and what
their children would be seeing on March 31st. Immediately
after the drill on the 31st, we had a debriefing assembly
for all the students. Present at this drill were all 70 members
of the various safety forces that had participated.
The exercise went very well. We had coverage of the drill
through two Cleveland television stations and from the print
media regarding the planning and communication of events
leading up to the drill. I think we may have sent the message
you felt was important regarding our preparedness.
want you to know about the icing on the cake. After the
had actually concluded and the students were seated
in the gymnasium where the debriefing was to occur, we had
the safety forces enter the gym. As the “good guys” were
entering, the students exploded into a spontaneous display
of appreciation by giving them an ovation. The SWAT team,
police department, and fire department were actually taken
off guard for the first time during the day. All of is felt
that the students were showing their allegiance to the guys
wearing the white hats. It appeared to many of us that the
students were now empowered to identify with the mission
and ethic or the good guys. No longer were they going to
be intimidated or feel inadequate in the face of those who
wish to do them harm. They now know there are many who are
going to come to their rescue, and they are no longer on
their own. This is a very important message that will promote
school safety for some time to come.
I want to thank you for the guidance that empowered us to
continue with this program. If I could ever assist you with
a presentation or encouragement of others to plan for this
type of event, please feel free to contact me. Enclosed are
some clippings concerning our exercise.
Bruce J. Keller
Vermilion Local Schools