Handling of Gomez ceiling collapse shows need for emergency plans in V.I. schools
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The story on the ceiling collapse at Joseph Gomez Elementary School on Monday (The Daily News, Sept. 24, 2013) reported that there was mass confusion in parents arriving and shuffling children away without checking them out as they had been instructed.
Superintendent Jeanette Smith Barry was quoted as saying: "There were parents taking other people's children, which is a 'no no', and many people just grabbed the children and went."
She further was quoted as saying, "Anybody could have taken anyone's children from the campus because it was in such disorder."
It seems that is a teachable moment.
Schools all over the United States have emergency plans in place in case of different types of emergencies. Would it not be reasonable to have such a plan for our schools here for all future situations? One that perhaps calls for all teachers to take their students to a safe "holding area" and do a head count, wait for professional instructions and not release children until given the all clear?
Having children disappear with parents and others in the wake of an emergency situation can leave many unaccounted for and their safety in question.
Everyone is lucky that a child did not go unnoticed or missing.
I call upon acting Education Commissioner Donna Frett-Gregory to formulate a mandatory plan for all the schools in the territory.
Our hearts and prayers go out to the injured teacher, Mrs. Alison Ford, for a speedy recovery and a thank you to her for being a caring and dedicated teacher of children.
- Maria Ferreras, St.Thomas.