Schools reviewing plans for disaster

Published 12:00 am Wednesday, February 19, 2003

In the 1950s and ’60s, it was &uot;duck and cover.&uot; In the ’70s and ’80s, children learned to &uot;stop, drop and roll&uot; in the event of a fire. In the 1990s, those lucky enough to live near the New Madrid faultline learned to &uot;stop, drop and hold&uot; in the event of an earthquake.

The unfortunate possibility of catastrophe in a school building has been around as long as we know, through the Cold War to school shootings. In our post-Sept. 11 society, the threat level, though, takes on a whole new meaning.

Schools across Mississippi, including Natchez-Adams schools, are under a Level 2 alert to correspond with the nation’s current High level alert.

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A Level 2 alert does not indicate immediate danger &045; in fact, it’s just one step above the normal operating procedures for public schools.

But it does give teachers and administrators pause as they watch over our children each day. And it makes us realize, again, how important these educators are &045; not only are they teaching our children the basics, they are on the frontline to protect them in the event of a disaster. Think back to the schools in the vicinity of the World Trade Center on Sept. 11 &045; they had to shelter their students from harm while helping them cope with terror.

During a Level 2 alert, teachers and administrators are to review their crisis response plans, in the event that something happens. It’s a good exercise during our war on terror &045; but also for the events we are used to preparing for, such as tornadoes and other natural disasters.

It’s not a time to frighten children or parents, but it is a time to be vigilant and to protect some of our most precious citizens.