Jaffrey-Rindge updates communication policy after feedback

Monadnock Ledger-Transcript
Published: 5/31/2019 9:35:35 AM

After receiving criticism over its communication with parents and students last week, the Jaffrey-Rindge Cooperative School District is clarifying what steps it will take to communicate during emergencies.

The district released a document this week with updated communication protocols, which take into account feedback given to the district after a student allegedly threatened another student last week. Parents in the district didn’t learn of the allegation until late in the day Sunday, and some not at all, after the district learned of it on Saturday.

“The process that we have outlined is what we have been doing, with a few adjustments,” Superintendent Reuben Duncan said. “For example, we have not always used the robo-call for some of our communications, but we put that in in all areas, because that’s what was asked of us. We wanted to make certain that was put in writing so people expect that.”

Duncan said the protocol will also include contacting parents and staff of all schools, not just the impacted school, another piece of feedback received last week. Though parents of high school students were contacted through email on Sunday, parents of elementary school students were not notified over the weekend, nor were elementary school staff, who only learned of the alleged threat officially on Monday.

“Certainly, making sure all people in the district are communicated with early is part of this,” Duncan said. “That also translates to families. If something were happening here [at the Middle/High School], the elementary school parents would also know what’s happening.”

Duncan said in addition to clarifying communication procedures, the district will also continue to enhance all of its communication protocols over the summer.

“The key is getting the communication out early enough so accurate information is in people’s hands, so they’re not relying on rumor or social media,” Duncan said.

Serious threats and incidents impacting the whole school

In instances where there is a serious threat, an incident which may result in a lock-down, evacuation or student dismissal, families will be notified via a robo-call and email, a measure several parents called for during a School Board meeting last week.

According to the school’s safety protocol, emergency services would be contacted first, then the principal. The principal would notify the superintendent and the SAU office staff.

At that point, the superintendent and principal would draft a communication which would include the date, time and location of the event, the overall safety status, and other pertinent information as allowed.

Staff and students would be informed of the situation and provided instructions, and then families would be informed via phone call and email, with ongoing updates.

Incidents requiring emergency services

In situations where there is a medical or police emergency, which does not require long-term lockdown or evacuation, the process is still similar.

The principal is notified, followed by the superintendents and office staff, who will draft a communication to inform staff, students and families.


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