Parents of Banks Community,
Yesterday the Banks School District was directed by Washington County Sheriff’s Office to go into lockdown at approximately 8:15 a.m., which then changed to a lockout, and then to all clear around 9:24 a.m. The staff at Banks School District did an outstanding job in securing the buildings and following protocols to ensure your children were safe. We debriefed throughout the district this morning during late starts and I would like to share some additional information with you in regards to lockdown / lockout protocols.
- When we receive the directive from law enforcement to go into lockdown, we receive very little information about what situation is occurring. It is a very brief and simple directive and we immediately go into our protocols and trainings without hesitation or questioning that directive. Our administrative staff will be debriefing with law enforcement in the next couple of days and I will share the concerns that I have heard from staff and parents.
- There have been questions about why we did not use Flash Alert initially. I am hesitant to use Flash Alert because that is sent to all media outlets and multiple websites which could cause more panic. Flash Alert may be used in the future, I will be discussing with my administrative team, law enforcement, and other districts how it is used. Yesterday, I was having the schools post updates on Facebook in real time. I was also sending emails to all parents during the lockdown / lockout. We have found out that those emails were being delayed 20 to 30 minutes before parents received them. We are looking into that and email will be delivered immediately, without delay moving forward. But please remember, our first priority is to secure the buildings and get all students and staff safe. Communication from the school may be delayed, but we will get updates out as soon as the situation allows us to.
- When lockout / lockdown situations occur, especially before or after school, our main objective is to get students inside and the building secured as quick as possible. We will not turn students away from entering the building once the lockdown is initiated. If students are walking to school without parents, there are still people looking for students and late arriving students. We have people in areas where students can be seen approaching the schools and get them inside as quick as possible. If parents are dropping off, we will have school personnel or signs instructing them that we are in lockdown / lockout and to not drop students off and check later for updates.
- One of the most difficult parts of a lockdown / lockout situation is the feeling of helplessness and vulnerability as a parent or family member. As a parent, I know it is one of the most difficult things when you cannot come get your child. We would ask that you do not try to come and get your child while we are in lockdown or lockout. Once the all clear is given and you are able to come to the schools, we do ask that you check in at the school offices and be patient with office staff.
Thank you for your understanding yesterday. If you do have more questions or concerns, do not hesitate to reach out to us.
Banks School District