An apology and a thank you

It is said three of the most powerful phrases in the English language are, “I am sorry”, “Thank you”, and “I love you.” This blog employs at least two of those phrases.

Let me begin with the apology. I wish to apologize to parents for the substance of the AlertNow! emergency message sent out in early September. This message was intended to test the AlertNow! database and to share a message on attendance. While there needs to be a test of the system each year, and thus, a message sent out to all contacts, the opening statement of the message should have been, “This is only a test. There is no real
emergency.” As the message was structured, it took several seconds for
listeners to discern there was no emergency, that this was a test message.
Several seconds may sound like a short while but let’s be frank here – there is
no such thing as a “little while” or “few moments” when the very safety of one’s children is under question. For the unnecessary fear and anxiety caused by my trial run AlertNow! message, I sincerely apologize. Expect better from here on out.

Parents are asked to review the contacts names and numbers they put into PowerSchool which provides the data base for the AlertNow! system. Updating numbers due to cell phone or email address or landline changes is important. Parents whose information has changed should contact school building secretaries who can then make changes in the
PowerSchool data base. Thank you for doing this important work.

I need to say, “Thank you” to everyone who was at Hughes Education Center on September 19 when a lockdown was triggered. This lockdown review in my blog is not intended to scare anyone. People are still far, far safer in the average school house than they are in their own homes. Yet when we are caring for children we always want to ask in advance of the worst thing happening, “What do we wish we would have done?” and then we need to do it, ahead of time.

There were over 200 people in Hughes during the lockdown, most, but not all, employees. People reported being increasingly frightened and confused in the time following the lock down message, and yet, no one panicked. That says something about each employee,
each adult, and each child on the Hughes campus that day. I say thank you.

While no one would wish to repeat the Hughes lockdown, we were able to learn some valuable lessons which will improve our response in the event of a real crisis. A “thank
you” must be shouted out to the Bismarck Police Department who was flat-out
phenomenal during the lockdown at Hughes. With knowledge, skill, and great
leadership, they took command of the situation and handled it beautifully from
beginning to end.

Again, thank you to all my people at Hughes. Deep thanks and high praise for the Bismarck Police Department. Good work, team!

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