Archive for Wednesday, September 24, 2008

Lockdown illustrates worth of preparation

September 24, 2008

De Soto USD 232 put its school lockdown procedures in place Sept. 17 at Lexington Trails Middle School and De Soto High School when it was learned a student who had been acting erratically was possibly heading toward the buildings with a weapon.

Fortunately, the incident ended in a very short time with no one injured and the young man hopefully getting the professional assistance it appears he needed.

It is comforting to learn that the district has fully developed security procedures to cover such incidents, which worked in cooperation with the Johnson County Sheriff's Office. Much of the emergency response planning was developed in the wake of the Columbine shootings under the direction of then Lexington Trails principal and now district human resource director Mark Schmidt. Although last week's incident ended well, it certainly underscored the importance of planning, preparation and practice.

The lockdowns occurred before the first bus arrived in the morning. The district plan accounted for that by sequestering students inside for protection and preparing to place staff outside to keep students on arriving buses, again with the goal of protecting them while law enforcement officers worked to remove the threat.

It was well conceived and shows that district officials had thought through the special circumstances of an incident occurring at a particular time when a great deal of student movement would add to the threat.

Unfortunately, we live in a time when preparation and planning for worst-case scenarios must be constant and new techniques applied as new technologies are available or hard lessons learned.

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