School District 62 practices emergency preparedness drills every school year. (Pixabay photo)

SD62 keeps up with emergency preparedness procedures

The preparation for violence threats in schools is similar to fire and earthquake drills

Emergency preparedness procedures are practiced every school year on the West Shore.

Jim Cambridge, superintendent of Sooke School District, said there is a lot of support for different types of emergencies, and lockdown drills are run the same way as fire and earthquake drills, but with different procedures, he noted.

For violence threats, depending on where the threat is located, students are taught different scenarios such as the hold and secure and the lockout.

READ MORE: Royal Bay students to experience lockdown exercise

A lockdown at Ecole Bayside Middle School in SD63 on Thursday prompted the largest emergency response ever for that school district. A number of students at the school reported seeing a possibly masked person in the bushes around Bayside and believed they had a firearm. But no suspect was located after a four-hour long search involving a K-9 unit and several police departments.

RELATED: Big response to Bayside lockdown

Lockdown lifted at Bayside Middle School

Jamie Adair, Safe schools co-ordinator for SD62, said the Violence Threat Risk Assessment (VTRA) team within the school district looks for ways to mitigate violence, bullying and drug use in schools. The district has three police officers appointed to it that go to schools and discuss these issues with the students.

In addition to the three police officer in the district, an RCMP community liaison also helps to prepare for emergency situations.

School districts 61, 62 and 63 collaborate with the police detachments, and do case studies about lockdown situations.

In a 24-hour period starting Thursday three schools on the Island were under lockdown including Bayside Middle School, Brentwood Elementary school and Cowichan Secondary.

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