WESTFIELD, NJ — Superintendent of Westfield Public Schools Dr. Margaret Dolan announced that the district is working to update its existing crisis communication plan during Monday night’s board of education meeting.
The district has taken some criticism about how recent incidents at Edison Intermediate School were communicated to parents, including a real evacuation for a bomb threat that the public was initially told was only a drill.
“The fact is, at this time, people really do expect instant notice regardless of what is happening, and that’s a little bit different,” Dolan said. “We’ve always given information out, but now the expectation truly is instant.”
Dolan said that they are working with parents and talking with other school districts that are encountering the same issues. Board President Gretchan Ohlig said that she recently met with other board of education presidents, as well.
“This issue is not unique to Westfield,” Ohlig said. “This sort of transition in time, where we’re needing to respond quickly and manage expectations of parents, because they have instantaneous contact with their children oftentimes, but also focus primarily on safety of the staff and students in the moment rather than talk to parents is something at everybody’s dealing with.”
“We’re also developing some information regarding our procedures in the schools, and this will be made available to parents on our website,” Dolan said. “We’ll notify parents when this information has been posted.”