COMMONWEALTH OF VIRGINIA
DEPARTMENT OF EDUCATION
P. O. BOX 2120
RICHMOND, VIRGINIA 23218-2120
SUPTS. MEMO. NO. 168
September 10, 1999

INFORMATIONAL

TO: Division Superintendents
FROM: Paul D. Stapleton
Superintendent of Public Instruction
SUBJECT: SCHOOL SAFETY: CRISIS DRILLS

 
As you review your school safety plans in preparation for 
the new school year, I encourage you to consider including 
in this year's plans a protocol for a crisis drill, such as 
a lockdown and/or an evacuation.  A crisis drill will 
prepare staff and students to respond in the safest possible 
manner, should a crisis occur.

Your Crisis Management Plan should outline the steps to 
follow in the management of different types of crises.  For 
example, if a hostage-taking situation occurs, the school 
may go into a lockdown mode.  It is essential that staff and 
students be prepared for this unlikely event by practicing a 
drill ahead of time, much like the rationale for drills that 
instruct students how to evacuate a building in the case of 
fire.  

"Just as staff should understand and practice fire 
drill procedures routinely, they should practice responding 
to the presence of firearms and other weapons, severe threats 
of violence, hostage situations, and other acts of 
terror."  
(from Early Warning, Timely Response: A Guide to Safe 
Schools)

It is recommended that you seek advice from local law 
enforcement officials and emergency response personnel to 
develop a plan for a crisis drill and to help train school 
personnel in the implementation of such a drill.  Please 
remember to keep parents fully informed of the rationale for 
such drills and the procedures that will be followed. 
Several school divisions have already begun to conduct 
crisis drills. The Department can refer you to some of your 
colleagues who have initiated this strategy. You may contact 
Marsha Hubbard at (804) 225-2928 for additional information.


PDS/moh