Parents Talk: Discussing Emergency Situations at School

When there is a situation at school, such as a lockdown or police are called in to help with a situation, how do you talk with your student about it?

Last week, a situation at resulted in the campus being while school officials and assigned to the school as community resource officers, searched for something based on a student tip.

The (HSD) through Hazelwood West's electronic mail system sent out an email to parents after the situation was over that described what happened and how it was handled.

Hazelwood Patch emailed HSD's communication department regarding protocol for counseling and speaking with students after a situation as such, and Diana Gulotta, the district assistant superintendent for communications replied back saying there are two social workers on HSD payroll trained to handle crisis situations.

"As far as the issue last week, I don't have any further details to provide other than to say that we have seen no evidence that any of our students were in need of any counseling based on the lockdown," Gulotta said. "This is something that we are very sensitive to and we would provide counseling if necessary.

"We have two certified social workers, a mental health specialist and six on-site guidance counselors which could, if necessary, provide these services."

So parents, give some advice: As a parent, how do you discuss an incident as such with your child? Do you feel HSD handled the situation and communication about it properly?

Candace Jarrett April 12, 2012 at 01:57 PM
I attended Hazelwood West and can only remember two times the school was locked down. The scariest time was on Sept. 11, 2001. I was a senior in experimental psychology with Ms. Watson. We cut on the tv and saw the planes crash and then school was on lockdown because of how close the school is to Lambert Airport and Boeing. Everyone in class was scared. You couldn't contact your parents, go to the restroom or anything. It was very surreal. If I recall, when lockdown was over they sent all the students home.
Angela Atkinson April 12, 2012 at 07:25 PM
I feel like I want to know exactly what happened. And not every parent checks their email all day long--it might have been better if they'd activated the automatic calling system and given parents a full description of what occurred via telephone.
Candace Jarrett April 13, 2012 at 12:03 AM
You know I don't think you are alone in feeling that way. I was asked quite a bit to find out what happened from parents that felt they didn't get a satisfactory answer. I'm sure it's scarey for any parent who hears lockdown when it involves their children.


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