FAQs on School Safety
The number-one step that you can take to prepare for a school emergency is to provide accurate emergency contact information to your child’s school and notify the school if your information changes.
During a crisis, your first response might be to pick up the phone to call the school. However, a high volume of calls may bog down the phone system. When a school emergency occurs, a parent can get important information and directions by doing one or all of the following:
- Visit www.gwinnett.k12.ga.us or your local school web site.
- If your school has an e-mail service and you have subscribed, check your e-mail. The school district uses SchoolMessenger to communicate emergency and non-emergency messages with families via telephone, text, and email.
- Monitor local television and radio for news alerts.
- Tune into the school system’s cable TV station.
During an emergency, you will want to get important information and directions from school officials before going to the school. You can be confident that accurate and timely information will be released to parents, the public, and the news media during any emergency incident.
During a hard lockdown all school interior doors are locked and students are confined to their classrooms and no entry or exit of the school is allowed. This takes place if there is a threat or possible threat inside the school.
During a soft lockdown all exterior doors are locked. This takes place if the threat is outside of the school. In some cases, parents could be admitted into the school with proper identification.
The main entrance will be locked and a sign will be posted on the front door indicating that the school is in a lockdown.
If it is deemed safe to allow others to enter the building, you or your designated emergency contact will need to show a proper form of identification, such as a driver’s license or valid photo identification.
Shelter-in-place means taking refuge in a small, interior room in the school, remaining there until it is safe to release students. This is a precaution to keep our students safe from hazardous materials that may have been released into the atmosphere. (This is not the same thing as going to a shelter in case of a storm.) This procedure is implemented if it is determined that evacuation or dismissal could possibly place students at risk.
In the event of an emergency at or near the school, school leaders follow the direction of law enforcement and emergency response agencies in determining whether or not to evacuate the facility.
Each school has a procedure for helping parents to reunite with their child during a school emergency. Parents will be directed to a specific location where they will be required to show proper identification. Remember, a student can only be released to an adult who is documented as an emergency contact. If you are a noncustodial parent, you must be listed on your child’s emergency contact information as a guardian and you will be required to show proper identification.
Important rules for students during a school emergency are:
- Follow the directions being given by the teacher or principal.
- Before using a cell phone, make sure it is safe to do so.
- Do not leave the school campus unless instructed to do so. In an evacuation situation or if school is dismissed early, follow the directions provided by the principal.