SPOKANE, Wash.—The procedure used to reunite students with parents after a deadly shooting at an Oregon high school was similar to what school districts prepared for throughout the Inland Northwest in case of emergency.
Parents at Reynolds High School were instructed to gather in a specific area and raise their hand when their child’s name was called. Leaders said the calm procedure was similar to what staff members were taught to prepare for at Central Valley School District.
“It’s organized,” said Director of Communications Melanie Rose. “It needs to be organized.”
Rose said staff-members used the procedure when they evacuated the school to a nearby church in 2013 after a bomb threat.
"What we do in all cases is make sure the student is reconnected with their parents and we keep track of that,” said Rose.
Teachers are instructed to use rosters to reconnect the families once the threat is gone, as staff-members at Reynolds High School did in June.
Spokane Public Schools officials said the district would likely bus students to another location, should a similar situation happen.
“We want to make sure there is no longer any danger,” said Security Supervisor Mark Howard.
Howard said each school in the Spokane School District has a reunification site. For example, students at Lewis and Clark High School would meet their parents at the nearby arena if the school were to be evacuated. Howard planned to take notes on Reynolds High School’s response.
"As we start getting information back on how this incident was managed, probably every school in the country would take a look at that and say, ‘oh this worked very well for them, that might work well for us.’," said Howard.
Howard said every incident is a chance to improve school emergency plans.