By Sarah Plummer
Raleigh County Schools administrators discussed this week their success in dealing with the Jan. 31 bomb threat at Beckley-Stratton Middle School in a quick, calm and efficient manner.
On the day the threat was discovered on a note in the school’s bathroom, Superintendent Jim Brown and several members of the central office staff were out of town, explained Miller Hall, director of secondary education.
“Immediately the principal called Mr. Brown, the police were called and the transportation department was called. But the amazing thing is that the transportation department had buses at Beckley-Stratton within 10 minutes of the call,” Hall said.
Just 20 minutes after the call was placed, students had been dismissed class by class and were on the buses headed to Woodrow Wilson High School where they were fed lunch.
Hall explained that after the Beckley Police Department cleared the school with a K-9 unit, students were returned to the school and went to second period classes.
“We don’t like dealing with bomb threats, but the important thing was that everyone knew what to do and where to go. We had a procedure and it worked perfectly. At the end of the day, it was a disruption to the educational process, but we still had instruction that day,” commented School Board President Richard Snuffer.
Hall added that not one parent came to Beckley-Stratton to check after an alert was sent.
Part of the school system’s work on a comprehensive emergency plan has been to control the scene and incident by moving students to a staging area, thereby preventing traffic and parents from interfering with police procedure and access.
“The fact that parents trusted the schools to handle this situation speaks volumes for the faculty, leadership and the parents. We really appreciate that,” said Brown.
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