What is the Protocol for Schools During a Crisis? - KAIT Jonesboro, AR - Region 8 News, weather, sports

Walnut Ridge, AR -- Brandi Hodges Reports

What is the Protocol for Schools During a Crisis?

WALNUT RIDGE, AR -- Wednesday in Doniphan and in Pocahontas there were more school threats.  Doniphan has been dealing with these threats for about two weeks.  Now, schools across region eight are taking a second look at their policies regarding threats.

Walnut Ridge Superintendent Terry Belcher told K8 News while they don't want to have to use it, they do have an action plan.

"You have a manual to go by, and of course you can't just follow that manual.  You have to handle the situation as it presents itself," said Belcher.

In the case of a bomb threat, Belcher said there is a chain of command.

"If it comes to the office, the secretary will contact the principal who will contact the superintendent," said Belcher.

From there, they would contact the authorities.

"We would call 911, the sheriff's department, and local police and from there.  Should there be a bomb threat we would call the hazmat team, evacuate the students and comb the building to see if there's a viable threat," said Belcher.

Criminal Investigator Jody Dotson with the Lawrence County Sheriff's Department said when there is a threat they light up their patrol cars and get to the school as soon as possible.

"As soon as we get there, if they haven't already evacuated, we help with trying to evacuate the kids," said Dotson.

The response of the school administration and emergency workers is focused on one goal:  protecting students.

"We don't have time to contact the media.  We're more concerned about the safety of our students and our children," said Belcher.

"This is very serious.  A lot of people's lives were put in jeopardy.  Law enforcement takes this very seriously and we're going to prosecute to the fullest extent," said Dotson.

Dotson said charges could vary from filing a false police report to making a false 911 call.  He said any charges would be up to the prosecutor.

And today, catching the pranksters is much easier.

"It's getting a lot easier with phone technology that we have it's easier for us to trace calls," said Dotson.

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