After Newtown: Lockdown drill Wednesday, vigil Thursday

Berkeley High School. Photo: Lance Knobel
Berkeley High School will have an emergency drill Wednesday afternoon. Thursday, a vigil and discussion about the Connecticut school shooting has been planned for a North Berkeley church. Photo: Lance Knobel

As the community continues to try to come to terms with Friday’s school tragedy in Newtown, CT, at least two Berkeley events this week respond to the deadly shooting.

A vigil to remember the victims took place over the weekend in Berkeley, and messages from school leaders and staff members have been going out daily to members of many Berkeley schools.

Wednesday afternoon, Berkeley High School will hold a brief safety drill to simulate lockdown procedures during an emergency. In an email to Berkeley High families, school Principal Pasquale Scuderi said the drill had already been planned, but that “the recent tragedy in Connecticut has obviously reaffirmed our need to maintain this type of capability.”

Scuderi said the drill would include “a brief acknowledgement of the victims in Connecticut and for the many around the world who are victimized by gun violence.”


He said staff would work to ensure that the drill is “respectful of current events” and that, if emotions arise, “we will take care of each other”: “The gravity of the realities that necessitate these aspects of our work will likely stir some emotions, but I much prefer some discomfort over indifference and inaction where our ability to protect kids is concerned.”

See his full email, sent Tuesday night, below in italics.

Thursday, Dec. 20, a candlelight vigil and meditation at Epworth United Methodist Church will be followed by a discussion for parents and adults “on how these events affect us and our families and offer resources on ways to comfort children in troubling times.”

The vigil, at 1953 Hopkins St., lasts from 6-7 p.m. The discussion, from 7-8 p.m. will follow. Free childcare and refreshments will be provided. We invite readers who know of other related events to share them in the comments below.

Related:
Adults, children attend candlelight vigil for Newtown [12.17.12]
Candlelight vigil today to remember Newtown families [12.15.12]
‘Today seems like a day to hug our kids a little harder’ [12.14.12]

Principal Scuderi’s email

Dear BHS Families:

As previously mentioned BHS will conduct a school-wide lockdown drill tomorrow, Wednesday, December 19, at 1:30 p.m.

This exercise, like the one we ran last year, will serve to continuously improve our collective ability to secure the entire perimeter of our campus and shelter students and staff should there be an emergency or threat to our campus.

While this exercise was discussed and proposed some time ago, the recent tragedy in Connecticut has obviously reaffirmed our need to maintain this type of capability.

One simple rule we want families and students to be clear on in the event of an actual lockdown or shelter in place:

Students proceed to the nearest safe space, office, or classroom even it is not THEIR classroom, and then stay there with staff until law enforcement or school administrators call the incident clear.

We will make every effort to ensure that the process is effective and respectful of current events. The exercise should take 5-7 minutes.

There will also be a brief acknowledgement of the victims in Connecticut and for the many around the world who are victimized by gun violence at the conclusion of the exercise.

The gravity of the realities that necessitate these aspects of our work will likely stir some emotions, but I much prefer some discomfort over indifference and inaction where our ability to protect kids is concerned.

Should emotions arise we will take care of each other. The challenges of these scenarios — even in simulation — require us to manage and respect our emotions and those of our students, while maintaining our ability to meet our primary responsibility of keeping them safe amidst the unthinkable.

Respectfully,
Pasquale Scuderi
Principal
Berkeley High School

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