Rochester Schools Involve Parents In Emergency Safety Procedures

Created: 12/04/2013 10:57 PM KSTP.com
By: John Doetkott

(ABC 6 News) -- The latest in a long line of violent incidents, Wednesday morning saw yet another school shooting, this time in an Orlando suburb.

One student was shot but is expected to survive, and the incident once again raised the question: Just how prepared are our schools?

“There’s a lot of school districts in this country that are playing catch-up,” said Amanda Klinger, director of operations with the Educator’s School Safety Network. “Our calendar is very full in the coming months of districts that are panicking."

Amanda, along her mother Amy, helped Rochester Public Schools develop new emergency procedures, and on Wednesday night they spoke to a few dozen parents at John Marshall High School about how they can help keep their kids safe.

“It’s not just up to the individual administrator or the teacher in the building to respond to the event,” said Dr. Amy Klinger, director of programs with the Educator's School Safety Network. “Everybody that's going to be exposed to it needs to understand the role that they play and what they can do to help."

The Klingers explained the new emergency procedures and said it's up to parents to help reinforce that safety training.

Parents said they felt reassured knowing the schools are staying on top of the issue, and empowered knowing that they can help.

“Hearing that they have a plan, the confidence level is much better than if they don't have anything at all,” said Duc Luu, whose son is a kindergartner in the Rochester Public School District.

“If they can hear it from more than just at school, they can hear it from the parents and know that they can trust what's being taught to them and actually implement it, then I won't be running down to the school frantic,” said Gina Robertson, whose two sons attend Rochester high schools. “Because I know they have a plan in place and they're going to really try and protect my kids."

The new emergency safety procedures employ a run, hide, fight strategy as opposed to a simple lockdown.

But to give parents a more in-depth explanation of the procedures and the reasons for the change, school officials will hold another session Thursday night from 6 to 8 p.m. at Mayo High School.