LFPA Gilbert School Safety

Dear Parents:

Should an emergency or disaster situation ever arise in our area while school is in session, we want you to be aware that the schools have made preparations to respond effectively to such situations.  In fact, schools in Arizona are built to meet stringent construction standards and they may be safer than your own home in the event of a disaster.

Should we have a major disaster during school hours, your student(s) will be cared for at this school.  Our School has a detailed emergency response plan which has been formulated to respond to a major catastrophe. In conjunction with our Emergency Response Plans, training events are regularly conducted with students to empower them with the knowledge they may need to respond to a school-based emergency. These training events may take the form of a classroom-based discussion, school-wide assemblies, or functional drills such as fire drills, lockdown drills, or full evacuation drills, among others. Whenever safety training is conducted, a letter such as this will be sent home or emailed so that you may further discuss with your students what they learned and reinforce sound decision-making in emergencies.

We held an assembly presenting the procedures to follow during a lock-out, lock-down, and active shooter scenario. We have also conducted a practice lockdown drill with a discussion-based training event involving emergency response to a violent intruder. The discussion begins with a public address announcement that a training simulation is taking place. The announcement provides the training scenario and an instruction to teachers to discuss with students what actions they should/could take.

In a violent intruder scenario, in this case, someone shooting a gun at persons on campus, our students are instructed in the options-based response of “Run-Hide-Fight”. An options-based response is what is encouraged and promoted by the US Department of Homeland Security, the Department of Education, and nearly every major law enforcement agency in America. The Run-Hide-Fight response is built upon the premise that if one can get far away from the violence, they should do so. If one cannot get far away from the violence, but can conceal themselves from the violent person, they should do so. If one cannot get far away or conceal themselves, they should assertively defend themselves as a last resort to survive. Please understand that the emphasis of this training is NOT to teach students to counter-attack an attacker as a first response. Running away and/or lockdown are emphasized as the safest options. We are, however, empowering in a thoughtful, systematic way, our students who may find themselves in a life or death situation to take actions beyond simply giving up.

In our discussion-based training on violent intruders, students are told when to run away, how to run away, and where to run away; where and how to hide, i.e. lockdown; and what to do during lockdown including barricading the room and preparing themselves in the event they are discovered and attacked so that they may fight back and subsequently escape. Methods discussed include throwing hand-held items such as books, wastebaskets, or small classroom accessories to cause distraction to the attacker, striking the attacker with large items such as chairs, desks, etc. And if feasible, escaping the area or subduing an attacker by virtue of outnumbering and overpowering him/her.

Lastly, it is important to understand the potential for an act of deadly violence at school is extremely low. This was conveyed to the students at the beginning and end of the training. It is our strong belief that despite the low probability of students ever facing such a situation, to be mentally prepared and versed in the school’s overall emergency protocols significantly bolsters our students’ confidence and sense of safety.

Please discuss these matters with your student and immediate family.

More emergency preparedness information for parents is available at:
http://www.ready.gov/kids/parents

Sincerely,

Robert Villa
Principal