Herald and Journal, Sept. 27, 1999

Staff well prepared for emergencies at HLWW

By Andrea Vargo

Emergency and crisis planning for Howard Lake-Waverly-Winsted (HLWW) schools was the focus for a special, meeting of the school boardlast Monday.

High school Principal Michael Day told the board that the district administration and teachers are informed and comfortable with emergency procedures from fires to even the sudden death of a teacher or student.

Every room has a flip chart clearly posted that defines procedures for specific events.

Monthly fire drills take place at different times, and sometimes, the chemistry area provides a few surprises, he laughed.

Board Chairman Jim Raymond asked how a student would know which exit to use.

Day said the teacher outside each room would point toward the proper exit for that room, as he/she directs the students.

In case the administrative people are all out of the building, a crisis team has been put together that will act and make decisions if a situation should arise.

For instance, if a student became violent, the team would decide whether or not to restrain the student, and/or call the police.

In the interest of safety, Day said he could not divulge the procedures and strategies that would be used in the case of a very serious situation, such as a shooting.

The school is well coordinated with local fire and police departments, said Board Member Richard Lammers, who is also a member of the Buffalo Police Department.

He told the board that the groups work well together. But Lammers cautioned the board that it is not possible to plan for the unknown.

Superintendent Riley Hoheisel and Lammers recently attended a three-hour presentation and demonstration by the Bloomington Police Department's bomb squad for teachers and administration of Wright County.

Lammers said it would be beneficial for the district if that squad could be brought into the district to do a presentation for the teachers and administration here.

There is a heightened sense of security in schools, since the recent Columbine, Colo. shootings, said Lammers.

Hoheisel said that school safety is in the media, including articles in professional education journals.

Some schools require student identification to get into the school building, and that may be in the future for HLWW.

Cameras in the hallways have helped monitor student behavior at HLWW, said Hoheisel.

He said he feels somewhat comfortable with the procedures in place.

"You can never feel as comfortable as one would like," he said.


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