Old News Archive

Governor Urges Maine Schools to Review Safety and Crisis Planning

October 03, 2006 - TRC

AUGUSTA – Governor John Baldacci issued the following statement today regarding safety in Maine schools.

“In the past two weeks there have been several unrelated incidents in schools across the country. Strangers have entered schools and terrorized children, and in some cases it has ended with the most tragic circumstances. In light of those events, I have asked law enforcement and schools to work together and review their safety plans. The Commissioner of Education will be sending out a letter to all superintendents today to ask for their cooperation.”

Last night, Governor Baldacci spoke with the heads of the Maine Emergency Management Agency, State Police, Commissioner of Education and Commissioner of Public Safety after the incident in Pennsylvania at an Amish school.

“As Governor and as a father, I am acutely aware of the impact these events have on families everywhere and the questions they raise,” said the Governor.

“Maine schools have been working on their safety measures to protect students and deal with emergency situations. This past June, Superintendents across the state met for their conference and worked on devising safety plans for emergency events. I want to recognize our superintendents, principals, teachers, and school staff for the good work that they’ve already put into efforts to protect our kids.

“I have asked a number of agencies in the state to coordinate their efforts and to work with superintendents, sheriffs, local schools, and local police to ensure that every school in Maine has safety procedures and emergency protocols in place. Maine’s Commissioner of Public Safety, Director of the Maine Emergency Management Agency, Chief of the State Police, and Commissioner of Education have been working to review resources that might assist schools and districts in reviewing individual crisis management plans.

“While there are no known threats to Maine schools, we have the opportunity to revisit, evaluate, and update current plans and procedures.

“Additionally, Commissioner of Education Sue Gendron will be issuing an informational letter today to Superintendents and private school administrators to impart additional information from the FBI and federal Department of Home Security that will aid in our vigilance to protect our schools and children. A list of resources to help families and superintendents prepare and update individual emergency plans is also attached to the letter.

“It goes without saying, we must do everything in our power in Maine to keep our children safe.”

Below is a list of the items covered in Commissioner Gendron’s letter to schools.

• Short Term protective measures from DHS-FBI:

o Review of school emergency and crisis management plans

o Conducting exercises

o Raising awareness and conducting awareness training in the schools

o Raising community awareness

o Preparing school staff to act in crisis situations

o Considering limiting visitors inside schools

o Considering single entry points for students, staff and visitors

o Ensuring adequate emergency communications

• Long Term protective measures:

o Installation of secure locks for all external and internal doors and windows

o Considering establishment of a safety area within the school

o Additional information and suggestions as provided at www.edfacilities.org

• Resources Include:

o Emergency plan and crisis planning for schools, www.ed.gov/emergencyplan

o Infrastructure protection, www.edfacilities.org

o Age-appropriate information for children on disasters, www.fema.gov/kids

o Information on dealing with trauma, www.nctsnet.org

NOTE - This article reflects the views of the author and not necessarily those of the TRC Alliance Team.