Emergency Response Guide
Statistics consistently show that schools are among the safest places to be due to the strong commitment of educators, families, and our community to our students and schools. We strive to be proactive rather than reactive. This guide outlines the key elements of Grand Forks Public Schools’ state of preparedness. We hope it will answer questions you have concerning our actions and intentions in the event of an emergency.
For consistency, we have developed the following terms to use:
- Drill: An activity that covers a specific safety circumstance and is designed to prepare your student to act quickly and minimize questions and fears should an emergency take place. North Dakota Century Code requires fire, tornado, and other emergency drills, including an unannounced lockdown.
- SRO: School Resource Officer; a uniformed Grand Forks Police Department officer assigned to schools to help build and maintain relationships between police, students, families, and employees.
- Lockdown Instruction Continues: Instruction continues in a secure building. All occupants remain in the classroom/building. Movement within the building is at building administrator’s discretion.
- Lockdown: Occupants are kept in rooms or areas that are secured. There is no movement within the building. Lockdown procedures are followed.
- Reunification Site: Area where students and employees are transported.
- Student Release Area: Location designated at a school or reunification site where families may pick up students. This location would be communicated to you at the time of an emergency.
As soon as possible, please:
- Ensure your contact information in PowerSchool is current and accurate, including who is authorized to pick up your student.
- We will use this information and multiple communication channels (phone call, email, text message (if opted in)) to provide accurate and timely information in the event of an emergency.
- If necessary, we may also use our District website (www.gfschools.org), district social media (Facebook (https://www.facebook.com/GrandForksPublicSchools/), Twitter (https://twitter.com/GFSchools)), and local news outlets may be asked to broadcast information.
- Explain to your student that cell phones should not be used during an emergency unless directed by an adult. Your student must pay attention to instructions from trained personnel. See Press Pause on the next page.
What you can expect if an emergency occurs:
- The emergency plan will be implemented and the district/school emergency teams will respond.
- All appropriate emergency response agencies will be dispatched to the school.
- Depending on the situation, students and employees will be secured within the building or relocated to a Reunification Site.
- Families will be kept informed on the situation with as much detail as possible. The first and official way for us to contact you in an emergency is using our automated phone calling system. This will most likely originate from the phone number 701-746-2212. Please save this phone number in your contact list now. Please only rely on these official communications.
- In an emergency situation, phones are needed to manage the situation and lines must remain open. Calling could also put students and employees at risk in an intruder situation. For example, if they did not have time to turn down their ring volume, your call could potentially give away their hiding spot.
- You will not be allowed on school grounds during an emergency. Emergency personnel responding to the situation need the area clear to do their job. After emergency responders determine that a safe student release is possible, arrangements will be made to reunite students with their families. This will occur at a reunification site.
- Students will not be allowed to take their property (coat, backpack, etc.) with them in an emergency.
After an Emergency:
- You will be directed to the reunification site, and you will need photo identification.
- Students will only be released to a parent, guardian, or other adult listed on the student’s Emergency Information Form, which you completed at the beginning of the school year. The individual picking up the student will be asked to complete a Student Release Form (available on-site). This procedure is designed for your student’s protection and for your peace of mind.
- Please be aware that reunification can be very time-consuming, and we appreciate your patience.
- It is important to remain calm as students are greatly influenced by their family’s sense of well-being. At the same time, families need to be compassionate listeners when their student speaks of an emergency. Please seek help from the school, district, or community resources if you/your student have concerns.
Families should be aware that Grand Forks Public Schools will ask students and employees to “Press Pause,” or wait five minutes before communicating (texting, posting, tweeting) in an emergency to give authorities sufficient time to assess the situation and communicate accurate information. This helps to avoid an environment that shares misinformation, which may escalate a situation. Teachers and/or administrators will give students the “green light” to utilize their device.
Additionally, all Grand Forks Public Schools employees, students, families, and community members are encouraged to report anything they see, hear, or are made aware of that may impact a school. If you see or hear something, say something. Call 911 or the Grand Forks Police Department at 701-787-8000. To text an anonymous tip to the Grand Forks Police Department, text GFPD to 847-411.
- When providing information, please be as detailed as possible. Include the name of the school(s), person(s) involved, type of alleged activities, when they occurred/may occur.
- All threats are taken seriously. Police are notified, and officers and school administrators work together to thoroughly investigate any threat, whether it is made verbally, in writing, email, text message, or online. The earlier we know about a potential threat, the earlier an investigation can begin.
- Anyone who makes a threat against a school could face criminal charges. If a student is involved in making a threat, the school/district will respond as outlined in the student handbook.
WARNING: it is against policy to impersonate an official Grand Forks Public Schools’ social media account or post false information about or from the school system under an anonymous account or alias. Depending on the nature of the post, such action may result in notification to local law enforcement. If made by an employee or student, it could result in disciplinary action.
The way in which we respond to an emergency is greatly influenced by the specifics of an incident. Our plans do not replace the authority of emergency personnel. Our employees work in full cooperation with these agencies.
For security reasons, components of our emergency plans are not publicly available.