Iroquois County CUSD #9

Dear Parents, Guardians & Family members,

On December 13, 2021, the district will hold a school safety law enforcement lockdown drill as a part of our planned practice of emergency safety protocols. This drill will include all schools within the district. 

Safety is a top priority for our students and staff and practicing various drills is a critical step in ensuring our students and staff are able to react quickly in the case of an actual emergency, and are practiced and comfortable with emergency plans.

We understand the subject of emergency and emergency response procedures can be equally as uncomfortable for parents as it is for students. As a parent myself, I understand how concerning receiving calls about the school’s response(s) to emergency situations can be. Moving forward, and in an attempt to improve communication on this topic I think it is important to share and define common terms used during an emergency procedure and provide examples of situations where these terms are used.  

Lockdown: A Lockdown is used to secure school buildings and grounds during incidents that pose an immediate threat of violence in and around the school. No one is allowed to enter or exit the building and parents may not come to the school during a lockdown. During a lockdown, teachers and staff quickly clear hallways, bring students into the classrooms, and classroom doors are locked and secured. 

Shelter-in-Place: A Shelter-in-Place is used to safeguard students and staff when bad weather exists outside of the school that demands immediate shelter actions within the school (i.e. tornado response)

Fire Evacuation: A Fire Evacuation is used to move students outside of the building in case of a fire. 

As a reminder, for some children, even participation in a drill may cause some emotional distress, especially if it reminds them of a prior crisis event or if they otherwise are feeling vulnerable or anxious. As a parent/guardian, you are in the best position to help your child cope with these feelings. As you know, it is important for any conversation with a child to be developmentally appropriate. Staff at all grade levels will be available to talk to their students and answer any questions that may arise. 

All children need brief simple information that should be balanced with reassurance. This includes informing children that their school and home are safe and that adults are available to protect them. Children often gauge how threatening or serious an event is by adult reactions and will respond well to basic assurance by adults and simple examples of school safety, like reminding them the exterior doors are locked. You have the option to exempt your child for any reason from participating in the walk-through lockdown drill. If you choose this option, please call your child’s school office and inform them of your choice. Your child will stay in the office during the drill. 

Although we hope to never have to use these situations aside from practice and drills, it is important to know that the district will always err on the side of caution to protect our students, staff, and district. Please understand that the district’s top priority is to first and foremost perform important safety measures and attend to the safety of our students and staff. We will always provide the most accurate information possible and we will contact parents and guardians as quickly as possible. 

Thank you very much for your continued support and partnership in working to ensure the safety of your children.