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Cell Phones and School Emergencies

By Deborah Williams

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Recent events have caused school administrators to reconsider school security protocol.  Before this, administrators considered cell phones a major distraction, so students were prohibited from using or even having them on during the school day.  According to an article, “Cellphones are Changing School Emergency Plans,” on the Discovery News website, cell phone use may be part of new crisis plans.

Schools have devised new plans that actually include students sending text messages to their parents during an attack.  In one school in Chardon, Ohio, the crisis plan calls for students to call 911 and to let their parents know that they are safe.  The plan is called ALICE—which stands for Alert, Lockdown, Inform, Counter, and Evacuate.

Including student use of cell phones during a crisis can be very helpful.  This can help parents to get the most accurate information from their own children, and it can help keep the school’s phone lines free for first responders.  Some plans include teachers sending texts to their students to direct them during an emergency.  For example, a teacher might send a text to her students to move outside if she knew that the intruder was nowhere near them.

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