The Richmond school board is developing a communications plan to better educate parents about what they can and can’t do when an emergency such as a bomb threat or serious incident occurs at a school.
This includes what a critical incident can look like along with examples of what the scales are – from lower to higher tier incidents.
“The notions that get sensationalized in the news are school shootings, bomb threats – these are high profile,” superintendent Sherry Elwood said. “There is a whole level of other incidents that demand another response.”
In May 2017, McMath Secondary School was in a hold-and-secure situation, meaning the students and staff had to stay inside the classrooms during further investigation by the RCMP. The Richmond school board and the RCMP met after this incident to try and improve communication going forward.
Makings changes to the existing critical incident protocol will aim towards mitigating risk and minimizing harm while keeping staff and students safe.
“There will be a diagram about what the decision making should look like, how we might communicate and what the role of the parents and community are in supporting us through what are usually very difficult situations,” Elwood said.
With social media comes expectations and entitlement among parents of school children to know what is going on.
“In some cases, we’ll be able to set up a parameter of the incident two blocks down the road – perhaps both a communication station and officer,” Elwood said. “Sometimes we can’t share in the ways the parents would like, or staff might like, because it might make the situation worse.”