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Colleton County Schools: Proactive Planning

“It brought the nation to its knees, but now that we have gotten back up how have things changed? What have we learned?” This quote is located on the wall of the Columbine Memorial. With this thought in mind and in an effort to proactively plan for crisis situations within the school district, Superintendent Dr. Franklin Foster along with six Colleton County School District employees flew to Denver, Colorado during the second week of July to attend trainings at the “I Love U Guys” Foundation for the Standard Response Protocol and the Standard Reunification Method. This foundation was started by John Michael Keyes along with his wife, Ellen Stoddard-Keyes, neighbors, and community members. John Michael is the father of 16 year-old Emily Keyes who was killed in the 2006 hostage shooting at Platte Canyon High School. According to their mission statement, ‘‘I Love U Guys’ Foundation was created to restore and protect the joy of youth through educational programs and positive actions in collaboration with families, schools, communities, organizations and government entities.”

Over the course of the three day training, stories were shared by survivors, families and emergency response personnel of the Platte Canyon, Deer Creek Middle, Virginia Tech, and Columbine tragedies. Trainees listened as the events of the shootings were retold. The culminating activity of the training was participation in a memorial service at the Columbine Memorial site followed by a tour and breakdown of what occurred there on April 20, 1999. Dr. Frank DeAngelis, former Columbine principal, spoke frankly and passionately to the trainees about the importance of what was being learned. This safety symposium provided the opportunity for attendees to reevaluate their current crisis plans and identify areas in which it can be strengthened.
The structure of the Standard Response Protocol and the Standard Reunification Method will provide continuity across the district in regards to the procedures implemented in a crisis situation. Upon completion of the training, the district attendees received certification which provides them the credentials to train teams from each Colleton County School. Dr. David Benke, the teacher responsible for taking down the shooter at the 2010 Deer Creek Middle shooting and member of “The I Love U Guys Foundation” will be assisting in facilitating this training which will be conducted prior to the beginning of the 2018-2019 school year.

Special to The Colletonian (3053 Posts)