New Castle News

May 16, 2013

School officials praised for evacuation effort

By Staff
New Castle News

NEW CASTLE — Editor, The News:

Growing up in a household of football fans, I always heard the term “Monday morning quarterback” tossed around.

Now that I am an adult, I am amazed at how people assume the role in many facets of life. This is in response to the letter written criticizing the administration, faculty and staff of George Washington Intermediate School, and its actions during an evacuation.

I too had a child involved in the process and cannot praise the staff enough.

All schools, especially in the wake of the Sandy Hook tragedy, have evacuation plans with predetermined destinations. The weather was temperate, so I was very grateful upon my arrival to the tennis courts that my child was being kept where there were fences. This containment made it impossible for anyone who was not part of the faculty or staff to obtain access to the children. In addition, the children were separated by grade and were well behaved under watchful eyes.

As a parent, I believe the decision to keep the children uninformed to the exact cause of the evacuation was wise. The children were informed that they had to leave the building for emergency purposes. Close to 700 students were escorted without incident to a safe place, and more information than was needed could have led to chaos.

The alert calls received were all informational and pertinent. Monday morning quarterbacks didn’t realize that because the staff was very carefully checking identification and obtaining signatures of parents and guardians who were taking children. The delay of transfer to the high school was necessary because of the time it took to be so diligent.

Understanding that many things are unavoidable, I applaud the fabulous efforts of the administration, faculty and staff of that school. The most important thing was that those children were safe.

Bess Ondako

Summer Avenue

New Castle