School Safety Procedures
Catharine Blaine Safety Procedures
School safety is a top priority at our school and our school safety committee has asked that the following procedures and instructions be shared out to our community at Blaine. For specific details around Seattle School District’s safety policies please visit their website, seattleschools.org
Below you will find information on: a) what we do at Blaine to help prepare for unpredictable events and ensure the safety of our students, staff, volunteers, and community members on our campus, and b) what we need YOU to do on a daily basis and in case of emergencies, whether you are on or off our campus. We realize this page is fraught with elements of the unknown, perhaps leaving more questions than answers. This will by no means answer every what-if question or scenario that could possibly come up, but it will give you some guidelines of which you need to be aware.
What We Do at Blaine to Ensure Everyone’s Safety
Federal and state laws require Seattle schools to conduct monthly drills, with a minimum of one of each of the following:
- Earthquake drills
- Fire drills requiring evacuation
- Lockdown drills
- 1 Shelter-In-Place drill
A lockdown is called if there is a threat to those on our campus within or near the school boundaries. In the case of a lockdown situation, playground and hallways are evacuated into appropriate classrooms, all exterior and classroom doors are then immediately locked, blinds are pulled, lights are turned off, and all students, staff, volunteers, and visitors are hidden in stillness and silence. Know that in an event of an actual lockdown, the district will communicate and update you . It is imperative that you update your email and phone information with us in the office and that you add SPS to your email whitelist. Sign up for text message alerts.
A shelter-in-place is called if there is a threat in the near-by community, which warrants us to take precautions. In the case of a Shelter-In-Place situation, the playground is evacuated, all exterior doors are locked, blinds are pulled, however classes remain in session and students, staff, volunteers, and visitors are free to work as usual inside the building. The office will be the one exterior door that will be a designated ingress/egress door monitored by administrators. Typically, during a low-incidence shelter-in-place, you can expect a communication from building leaders after the fact. Should the shelter-in-place go to a lockdown, district communication protocols will go into effect, described above.
A family reunification event is one in which family members or emergency contacts are required to pick up students. This is a very structured process that requires a great deal of patience and cooperation on the part of you or those coming to pick up students in order to ensure the safety of all students. This process may take more time than you would expect or want but it ensures a number of things: a) That students are kept safe, b) that only authorized people are picking up our students, and c) that we know if/when students are picked up so we can communicate that to other concerned family members or parties. Know that during such an event, the district will communicate and update you. Again, it is imperative that you update your email and phone information with us in the office and that you add SPS to your email whitelist.
Our philosophy when running drills is to first practice well. This means that the first one or two drills of each kind are announced ahead of time so staff can clearly educate students about logistics and expectations. Thereafter, as we continue practicing throughout the year, the remaining drills are unannounced to better replicate a scenario. Note: The school district has advised schools to not conduct lock down drills with children younger than third grade. Because younger children cannot distinguish between a drill and an actual emergency, a lock down drill can be a traumatic event for a child. Teachers in grades lower than third grade will review and practice lock down procedures without children present.
What You Can Do at Blaine to Ensure Everyone’s Safety
Whenever you enter our building, please make the front office your first stop and please sign in. In order to ensure your safety, should you be here during a drill or during an emergency event, we need to know that you are in the building. If you do not sign in, we do not know to account for you and therefore will not go looking for you should you not be at the designated area (see below). Thank you.
During an earthquake or earthquake drill, you will want to find the nearest surface under which to duck and cover. There may be studies and theories that suggest other actions to take. This is the action that our local police and fire departments require us to take. We ask you to do the same.
In the event of a fire or fire drill, unless otherwise informed, please use the closest exit to the playground and wait by the play structure. The office staff will be bringing, among other things, the volunteer and visitor check-in notebooks and will be taking your attendance. If anyone is missing, we have a team of experts to conduct a search and rescue. Therefore, you need to report in so we don’t send in a team to look for you unnecessarily. If your assistance is needed elsewhere, you will be notified.
In the event of a lockdown, please get into the nearest classroom and respect the instructions of the teacher. If you are in, or closest to, the office, the nurse’s area is your destination. Either way, you will need to sit in the area designated by the teacher and help maintain silence and stillness around you. This includes silencing your phone.
Note: During a lockdown, if you are not already in the building, you will not be allowed in the building once the doors are locked. The best thing for you to do is to seek shelter as quickly as possible elsewhere in the nearby community.
During a shelter-in-place situation, you may move about within the building freely and continue your work. Please refrain from leaving the building. All exterior doors will be locked. The office will be the one exterior door that will be a designated ingress/egress door.
In any event, the best help you can initially offer is to respect the charges given you by teachers, office staff, and/or administration. If we need your assistance in other ways, we will ask for it.
In the event of a more serious crisis, there is a plan for reunifying family members with their children. Because we need to ensure that students are going home with a trusted family member or emergency contact, this is a methodical, time-consuming process and we need your cooperation and patience. Your students will be well-cared for by our emergency teams.
To reunify with your children, please come to the back of the school and meet with the office team to check in and provide the name of the student you or the designated person is picking up. You will then be instructed where to go to be reunified with the student.
In the event that we need to evacuate and relocate, our relocation site has been identified as McClure Middle School (1915 1st Ave. W). Once there, we will have a family reunification plan and process in place similar to that described above, however it will be at McClure. McClure’s main phone number is 206-252-1900.
Attending Bus Zones and Crosswalks
- Please remain cell phone free. We have seen too many close-calls from people texting and talking on phones while inching forward.
- Please unload and load students in the designated area on 34th Ave West. The Pop Mounger pool parking lot is not a designated drop off zone.
- If your student rides a school bus, please remind her/him of appropriate behavior in the bus lines while waiting for the buses as well as when riding them. I tell students they are still in school when riding the bus. The bus is their classroom and the driver is their teacher.
- As winter descends upon us, visibility from automobiles decreases exponentially. Please exercise extreme caution when entering intersections surrounding our campus.
- Please use crosswalks. All too often we see families sprint across streets, especially near the bus zones.
- Dogs: Please do not stand near any entrances with your dog and do not leave your dog unattended. Dogs have bitten students on school property in the past and there are always some students who are fearful of dogs.