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Procedures help keep students safe at school

Peel schools provide a safe environment for staff and students to work and learn. The board has many procedures to ensure safety —including regular fire drills, evacuation plans and criminal records checks for new staff and volunteers.

Together with Peel Regional Police and the Dufferin-Peel Catholic District School Board, the Peel board has developed three specific procedures to help keep schools safe during various kinds of potentially dangerous situations.  These procedures are called Lockdown, Hold and Secure and Shelter in Place.

Lockdown:

Lockdown is used in the very rare situation where a suspect who is perceived to be dangerous may be inside the school building. During lockdowns and lockdown rehearsals, the principal will announce on the PA, "Initiate lockdown procedure." The school bell will ring continuously for a period of time.

Students and staff inside the school will:

·         go to the closest room and close the door, and lock it if possible

·         lie down on the floor away from sightline of doors and windows

·         remain on the floor until further directions are given

Note: Police have cautioned against parents calling their child's cell phone as this interferes with the safety measures put in place.

Students and staff outside the school will:

·         move as far away from the building as possible

·         remain outside until the bell is rung once to signal re-entry or until further directions are given

If a Lockdown continues past dismissal time, police will direct the process of how and when students will be released to their parents.

As part of the school's overall safety plan, rehearsals will take place a minimum of two times during the school year.

Hold and Secure:

Hold and Secure is used when there is a potentially dangerous situation in the community near the school. For example, if police are involved in apprehending an armed suspect in the community, they will instruct the school administration to follow the Hold and Secure protocol. This means that all outside doors will be locked, all windows will be shut and no one may enter or exit the building without police permission. Classes inside the school continue as usual. If a Hold and Secure continues past dismissal time, police will direct the process of how and when students will be released to their parents.

Shelter in Place:

Shelter in Place is used in the event of an environmental or weather-related situation in the community of the school that could be potentially harmful to students. For example, if there is a spill, leak or release of some kind of noxious chemical in the environment near the school, the school will follow the Shelter in Place protocol. This means that windows, doors and air vents to outside air will be shut until the problem is resolved. If a Shelter in Place continues past dismissal time, police will direct the process of how and when students will be released to their parents.

In all instances requiring these protocols, Peel schools and parents are expected to take direction from Peel police.  Parents can stay informed by subscribing to receive updates from their school’s website. Information about critical situations or dismissal delays will be sent out to subscribers by email or text message. To subscribe, visit the school website, click on ‘Subscribe’ and fill in the form. You can find a list of all schools with links to their websites at www.peelschools.org in the ‘Schools’ section. In addition to the email/text message updates, a letter will be sent home after the situation to inform parents of what happened.