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Michael Kennedy

EDAD 580
11 July 2015
Communication Plan
External Threat Lockdown
Purpose
The purpose of this plan is to effectively communicate our response to
a potential threat resulting in an external lockdown. An external lockdown
can take place for a number of reasons. Essentially, an external lockdown will
occur when a situation takes place near the school that has the potential to
have an impact on the school building and/or people associated with the
school. In an external lockdown, nobody is allowed to leave the school, and
only people in certain instances are allowed to enter the school. Also, all staff
members have responsibilities to follow through with.
Crisis Response and Communication Teams
The crisis response team will be made up of school leadership, as well
as school support staff. After making the decision to move to an external
lockdown, which will often times be recommended by local law enforcement,
the Principal will announce to the school over the PA system that an external
lockdown has been enacted. At this point, a number of things will occur. The
Principal will remain in the office to ensure quick decision making and direct
communication if need be. Assistant Principals will be visible in the hall to
ensure external lockdown procedures are taking place. Hall Attendant
paraprofessional staff will also be assigned to different wings of the school.
Their responsibilities will be to ensure all doors are closed and no
unauthorized individuals are being let into the school. All other teachers and
staff are expected to close the shades on their windows, respond to any
student questions, and check their class lists to ensure students are all
accounted for.
The communication team will be made up of the Principal, secretaries,
counselors, and the District Public Relations Director. The role of the
communication team immediately after an external lockdown announcement
is to ensure all staff are aware of the lockdown. On any given day, students
and staff are coming and going from school for a variety of reasons. If any
off-campus activities are occurring, these staff members must be notified.
Also, classes that are on campus but outside, such as physical education
classes, must be notified and hurried inside. Once immediate
communications have occurred, the communication team can begin to
formulate a plan to communicate the event to the entire school community,
as well as the public.
External Lockdown Plan

First 15 Minutes
Within the first fifteen minutes of an external lockdown, a number of
things must occur. First and foremost, the entire school staff must be notified
of the lockdown. This will be done by making an announcement over the PA
system. The Principal will make the announcement, stating that the school is
entering into an external lockdown and all teachers must close the blinds to
their windows and paraprofessional staff assigned to different areas of the
school should report to those areas. Also, if anyone is outside the school for
activities, such as physical education class, should come back into the
building immediately. After this announcement has been made, the secretary
will be checking the school calendar to see if any teachers or classes are
outside the school, such as on a field trip. If so, these groups must be called
and notified of the lockdown immediately. A collaborative decision will be
made by the Communication Team as to what these groups outside the
school grounds should do next. If it has been decided a group would be
better to stay where they are, they will be asked to do so. If it has been
concluded that the best interests of the group are to return to school, they
will be given specific instructions on where to go and what to do, based on
the current situation. Next, counselors will begin to make rounds within the
school, checking to see if any students are in need of intervention due to the
lockdown. The external lockdown could be raising the anxiety of certain
students, and if would be the place of the counselors to work with these
students. Finally, the Principal will call the Districts Public Relations Director.
He/she would inform the PR Director of the external lockdown and that more
information will be passed on as it becomes available.
Next Steps
After the first fifteen minutes have passed, an automated telephone
message will be sent out to parents and families to inform them of the
ongoing situation. Secretaries will most likely be fielding calls from
concerned parents. Secretaries will be briefed on the following talking points
to better inform parents:
We have entered an external lockdown everyone within the building
must remain in the building and individuals are not allowed to enter
the building
This decision was made due to an ongoing situation within the
community that is in close proximity to the school
This is a safety precaution; no students or staff are in danger
All learning will continue as planned
We will keep families updated on the status of the lockdown
As the day goes on, some students may need to leave school for
appointments. If this situation happens, a students parent/guardian must
meet their student at the door of the school. The Principal will continue to

receive information from local law enforcement about the status of the
situation that is causing the lockdown. The Principal will also be updating the
Districts PR Director periodically to ensure central office is kept up-to-date.
If the external lockdown is still in effect within one hour of school
dismissal, the Principal will first call local law enforcement for an update on
the situation. If the situation has the possibility of not being resolved by
dismissal time, a few officers will be asked to be present on school grounds
during dismissal as a safety precaution. Next, the Principal will call the PR
Director, as well as the Superintendent, to notify them that the schools
external lockdown dismissal procedures will be enacted if the situation is not
resolved by dismissal time. In this situation, students riding busses will be
allowed to ride at normal dismissal time. A police presence will accompany
the students at the bus pick-up location. Students being picked up, as well as
students leaving in a personal vehicle will be allowed to leave as well.
Students that walk home after school will not be allowed to do so, and will
have to either wait for a ride, or will stay at school until the lockdown is
lifted. At this time, the Principal will send out an automated telephone
message notifying parents and families of the dismissal changes.
Drafts of Sample Communication
Email to Staf
School Staff,
This morning, our school entered into an external lockdown. This
lockdown was in response to an event in the community that was occurring
within close proximity to school grounds. This measure was taken as a
precaution and nobody within the school is in any immediate danger due to
this event. We will exit the external lockdown only after an announcement is
made over the PA system. Please continue to maintain your external
lockdown responsibilities until the lockdown has been lifted. If students begin
to ask questions about the lockdown, please pass on this information to them
as well. We do not have any specific information to offer about the ongoing
situation within the community. All we can say is there is an incident
occurring and law enforcement are working to resolve the matter. If any
other changes occur, we will let you know as soon as possible. Thank you for
your continued efforts!
Automated Telephone Message Lockdown Notification
XYZ School Families,
This morning, our school has entered into an external lockdown, due to
an event occurring within close proximity to school grounds. This measure

was taken as a precaution to ensure the safety of our students. There is no


immediate danger to any students within the school pertaining to this
lockdown. An external lockdown means all students and staff are to remain
in the building until the lockdown has ended, and individuals are not allowed
to enter the school. We will continue to update you on the status of the
lockdown as the end of the school day approaches. Thank you.
Automated Telephone Message Lockdown Extending into Dismissal Time
XYZ School Families,
School dismissal time is approaching and we have been advised by
authorities that the external lockdown is still in effect. For the safety of all
students, we will be modifying how students are allowed to leave school
grounds for the day. At this time, all students riding a bus will be able to take
their bus at normal dismissal time. There will be a police presence at the bus
loading area as an extra precaution. Students being picked up by vehicle, as
well as students leaving in a student driven vehicle, will also be allowed to do
so at normal dismissal time. Students who will be walking home from school
will need to stay in the school until the lockdown is lifted, or until they can be
picked up in a vehicle. No students will be walking home until the lockdown
in lifted. Students that are unable to leave will have a number of supervised
locations within the school to stay at until they either arrange a ride, or the
lockdown is lifted. If you have any questions, please contact the school.
Thank you.
Press Release
This morning XYZ School went into an external lockdown due to an
incident occurring within the community in close proximity to the school
building. This was done as a precautionary safety measure. Students and
staff remained within the school until the external lockdown notice was lifted
this afternoon. During the lockdown, all learning was able to continue within
the school walls thanks to the efforts of XYZ teachers and staff. The school
district would also like to thank our local law enforcement for their continued
cooperation and support, as well as families of students at XYZ School for
your flexibility and understanding during this situations.
Communication Plan Assessment
There are a number of ways we will assess the effectiveness of our
communication plan. First of all, we will have our staff evaluate how well the
external lockdown was communicated during our next staff meeting. Staff
will be asked to fill out a quick questionnaire regarding what went well and
what could be improved. Next, a survey will be sent home to parents asking
for feedback on how the external lockdown was communicated. This will be

an effective way for parents to voice their opinion on the success of the plan,
as well as any concerns they may have with how the external lockdown was
communicated.