Schools Reevaluate Terrorism Response Plans

With the nation on high alert many East Texas Schools are double checking their disaster plans. Adminsitrators are heading back to school to prepare for the worst.

Schools already have plans in place for natural disasters, like tornado and fire drills. And after Columbine, districts have prepared for bomb threats and violence on campuses. But now, they are being asked to protect our children against terrorism.

"In many respects, there are no guarantees when it comes to terrorism," says TISD Superintendent Dr. David Simmons. "Particularly some of the isues our government is talking about." TISD has an Emergency Response booklet which includes airplane crashes, hazardous spills, and nuclear conflict. Simmons says he will meet with each campus principal next week to review those plans. He hopes to announce the new proceedures in case of a terrorist attack by the end of next week.

Every district we talked to Wednesday has lockdown emergency proceedures. But this week many, including TISD, Whitehouse, Lindale and Chapel Hill ISD's are taking another look at those plans to take into account chemical or biological attacks. Simmons says that may mean taking new actions, and purchasing additional supplies. "Things such as plastic, such as duct tape to seal off doorways. Maybe having drinking water available to sustain several hours for which the public could enter into our building."

So many of the emergency proceedures already in place were developed when tragedies happened at other schools. This time around, administrators are attempting to plan for the unthinkable before it happens.

Stephen Parr, reporting.