Sometime before the State of Maine legislature passed requirements in 2007 for every school to have a comprehensive emergency management plan to be reviewed and accepted yearly by a board of governors, Hyde School was practicing emergency preparedness.
“The major motivation for the state of Maine, as well as most of the country, was the Columbine school shootings in 1999,” said Shawn Johansen, Director of Facilities and Security.
The Hyde plan has just been updated and made even more a part of the school’s community life through trainings and information sessions. Practice drills and staff trainings help heighten student awareness of the risks.
“In the new environment that presents itself today, it is even more important to insure that the best and most current thinking is used for student and staff safety,” said Rich Truluck, assistant Head of School and plan coordinator.
As of 2007, every school in the state of Maine is required to have a plan in place, to that end Hyde staff members have been to conferences at other boarding schools on this topic, and have worked with the principal at Dyke-Newall School in Bath, the fire department, and the local police on the emergency management plans. After a year of research, Hyde chose the Polycom/School Messenger as an intermediary step to a public address system which is currently being installed.
Asked about the plan’s effectiveness, Truluck responded, “We have consulted with other schools, borrowed from their best practices, met with safety consultants, attended trainings, worked with local fire and rescue in addition to the Bath police department. I know we have a good, stable and practiced plan, and we continue to look for ways to make it better.”