By Bob Katzen
The Education Committee held a hearing on a proposal that would require each every public or private elementary and secondary school, in consultation with the local police department, to establish critical incident response protocols for the school, including protocols for active shooters and other critical incidents during classes, breaks between classes, lunch, assembly and fire alarms.
Each school would then be required to conduct at least two lockdown drills and one safety briefing for students and staff each school year. Currently, Massachusetts schools are required to conduct at least four fire drills per year, but there is no similar requirement for preparing for other critical incidents such as shooters.
“This is a very common sense bill,” said sponsor Shawn Dooley (R-Franklin). “One of my local police chiefs informed me that although some towns practice drills many do not. We mandate fire drills so children and teachers know what to do, so why wouldn’t we want to practice when our school is faced with other types of emergencies?”