Local educators can take heart in the fact that should an emergency arise, every public and private school in the county will be notified.
Columbus Police Department has created an emergency notification system specifically for schools, using the city and county’s mass communication system, Everbridge.
Chalk it up as a learn-as-you-go lesson in the use of Everbridge.
On Jan. 22, police were alerted to a bank robbery at the Jackson County Bank branch at 400 Washington St.
The potentially armed suspect ran north on Washington Street, placing him in the vicinity of six schools: Columbus Signature Academy-Lincoln, First Christian Preschool, Central Middle School, Busy Bees Academy, Learning Tree Preschool and First Presbyterian Preschool.
Only a few of the schools were alerted. Lincoln and Central were placed on lockdown, but the private preschools in the area were not notified of the situation.
The Columbus Association of Private Preschools took their concerns to the police, who in turn established the notification system for the schools.
That’s an important measure to have in place to help ensure students are safe from harm.
Columbus Police said the notification system has limits.
For example, it won’t send out a notification for a standard arrest or if police do not think schools are in danger.
However, police said they’ll consider the risks and make a decision whether a school needs to be notified.
Erring on the side of caution would be a good practice.
Despite the limits, one Bartholomew Consolidated School Corp. official said the notification system acts as a second set of eyes.
“Our knowing what’s going on just clarifies the situation a little bit,” said Larry Perkinson, Bartholomew Consolidated’s school assistance coordinator.
In an emergency situation, having accurate information quickly to make decisions about student safety is crucial.
Thankfully, a system is now in place to benefit all the schools.