SAFETY FIRST: BPS ENTRANCE PROTOCOL FOR ALL SCHOOLS
When visitors arrive at the main entrance, the designated staff member at each building will ask the purpose of their visit and ask to see a picture id prior to opening the door.
Billings Public Schools (BPS) has both a moral obligation and a legal responsibility to provide for the life, health and property of students, faculty and staff, and to protect the public’s property.
Unanticipated tragic events can quickly escalate into a school-wide catastrophe if not dealt with immediately and effectively. Knowing what to do when a crisis occurs can minimize the chaos, rumors and the impact of the event on students and community.
This Crisis Plan is the result of work completed with the Emergency Response and Crisis Management Grant provided by the U.S. Department of Education in collaboration with local responders and is to help ensure the maximum safety for all BPS students and staff. The format of this plan follows the four main phases of the Emergency Response Cycle; Prevention, Preparedness, Response and Recovery, followed by Communication to parents and the community.
We want to assure staff, parents, students and community members that our district and schools have extensive and thorough crisis response plans that address a full range of emergency situations. Each of our schools reviews their crisis plans as well as reinforces school security through mandatory drills and campus visitor procedures and are prepared for crisis situations.
Children Coping with Crisis
Whenever a national tragedy occurs, such as terrorist attacks or natural disasters, children, like many people, may be confused or frightened. Most likely they will look to adults for information and guidance on how to react. Parents and school personnel can help children cope first and foremost by establishing a sense of safety and security. As more information becomes available, adults can continue to help children work through their emotions and perhaps even use the process as a learning experience.
- What can I do as a Parent?
- Acknowledge and validate your children’s feelings.
- Give permission for your children to cry, as this an important part of the healing process.
- Knowing what to say is often difficult. When no other words come to mind, a hug and saying “This is really hard for you/us.” may help.
- Try to recognize the feelings underlying your children’s actions and put them into words. Say something like “ I can see you are feeling really sad about this.”
- Recognize that grief may be expressed in many ways, i.e., through anger, tears, laughter, changes in their sleeping and/or eating.
- Recognize that your child may be fearful for his/her immediate safety. Reassure your child that they are safe.
- Recognize that a current death can bring to the surface emotions from previous loss.
- If your child expresses an interest in attending the funeral, it is important that an adult accompanies them for support.
- Help you children put their fears in perspective
- Help children to feel personally safe
- Try to maintain normal routines to provide a sense of stability and security.
- Help children to feel a sense of control by taking some action, i.e., cards and letters of support.
- Prepare for difficulties with children at night, i.e., difficulty falling asleep, nightmares, etc.
- Maintain regular bedtime routines such as story time, in order to provide a sense of security. Special stuffed animals or blankets may be especially important right now.
- Recognize that children will need extra hugs.
- Having open and honest communication with children about tragic events is very important.
More resources from the Billings Public Schools Crisis Recovery Team are available HERE.
For the Billings Public Schools Safety and Crisis Plan, CLICK HERE.
Thank you for your dedication to keeping our students safe.