Although schools continue to be one of the safest places for children, emergencies and crisis that affect our schools and children can and do happen. Mississippi schools know firsthand the destruction that results from natural disasters such as tornadoes and hurricanes. Fires, bus accidents, bomb threats and medical emergencies can happen on any given day. Suicides, deaths of students or staff, shootings and other forms of violence are all extremely rare, but are devastating when they do occur. In addition, the events of September 11, 2001 made us all aware that we must be prepared to respond to possible terrorist attacks.
It is important that schools have in place a comprehensive crisis response management plan that addresses mitigation/prevention, preparedness, response, and recovery. The crisis response plan can only be effective when it is developed in partnership and collaboration with members of the community and community-based response agencies.
The Office of Healthy Schools has provided a template, as well as a number of web sites, to guide local districts in developing their crisis management plans. However, it is important to note that crisis plans must be developed to meet the individual needs of each school and the document is continually changing as the school's needs change.