Schools develop safety outline

Administrators had plan in place before threats of attacks

By JOSH NICHOLS
Daily Press writer
In regard to the recent incident involving the alleged plot by three high school students to bomb the Moffat County High School and the Moffat County Courthouse, Interim-Superintendent Pete Bergmann said a plan was already in place to deal with the situation, and it worked.
"We don't feel the students were ever at risk because we responded in a timely manner," he said. "We've taken care of the situation, and the schools continue to be a safe place."
In order to reassure the public, parents and Moffat County students who return to school on Monday, a two-page outline has been compiled by Bergmann outlining initiatives that the district believes is necessary to keep students and teachers safe.
Bergmann stressed that the outline was developed by using plans and policies already implemented in the school district before officials were made aware of the threat.
"I've compiled what we already had in place," he said. "These are initiatives we've taken to ensure that we have safe schools."
Bergmann outlined three components he deemed as necessary in maintaining a safe, quality learning environment.
They include:
Establishing school policies
that address student safety
and welfare.
Developing pro-active
social and safety programs to
create a respectful, positive
school climate.
Having usable school crisis
and emergency procedures in
place.
"The school district has spent considerable time and energy in the development of these components as we focus on maintaining a safe responsive school climate," he said. "One of our 2001 district level goals was to develop a comprehensive system to address school violence. To address this goal we have established a 'School Violence and Risk Assessment Task Force.'"
The Task Force has worked on plans to:
Address threats and vi-
olent behavior;
Develop a protocol for
administrators to investigate
and make initial assess-
ments of threats;
Develop a process to ana-
lyze threats and determine
the seriousness and poten-
tial risk;
Develop behavior support
plans and programs to help
potentially violent students
succeed while maintaining
the safety of others.
"The task force originated because we felt a need to standardize the procedures," Bergmann said. "It's a work in progress now, but it's served its purpose well."
In situations such as the recent bomb threat, Bergmann said the new procedures have worked.
"The procedures we are using have been effective and have given us the guidelines to make quality decisions," he said.
According to Bergmann, everything has been taken care of for the students' return on Monday.
"Students and parents should rest assured that we have thoroughly searched the high school, and will continue with safety procedures to ensure a quality learning environment," he said.
Moffat County Board of Education president Phil Hastings is not concerned about his children returning to school, and has been impressed with how the different agencies handled the situation.
"I definitely think the police acted appropriately after they were contacted," he said. "I have no qualms about sending my kids back to school on Monday. None. We've talked about the situation, and they don't appear to be bothered by anything."
Bergmann wanted to reassure the community about the situation, but also wanted to assure them that the school has not taken the situation lightly.
"We are taking things seriously and want to continue to emphasize that we have safe schools," Bergmann said.

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