We are all excited to be back in our buildings, keeping students engaged and learning. An important component of school expectations is keeping our students safe. Safety is crucial to our school program at Las Cruces Public Schools.  At every school site there is an administrator in charge of school safety and is responsible for facilitating school safety drills: Fire Drills, Shelter-in-Place Drills, Lock Down Drills, and Evacuation Drills.  We have already held a Fire Drill and a Shelter-in-Place Drill.

All schools in the district are required to do an evacuation drill within the first four weeks of school. The goal is inform every student in the district what to do and where to go during an evacuation. This is done in a very safe and informative manner.

This week, the district and Sonoma Elementary worked with a local community partners and agencies allowing students to practice evacuating their school in the case of an emergency. The First Baptist Church (FBC) on North Sonoma Ranch Blvd. agreed to partner with Sonoma for this drill. Staff and all 3rd, 4th, and 5th graders walked with their teachers over to the FBC.  Students entered the large chapel with their teachers, as staff took attendance.  After every student was accounted for, students and staff made their way from the church and returned to school.

Our district’s Safety Team assisted in sending several staff leaders to support staff from Sonoma on this walk. Staff at Sonoma Elementary worked with the school safety team, the Las Cruces Fire Department, the Police Departments, and the LCPS Department of Public Safety.

More than 350 students participated in the drill, they and were safely escorted through a busy intersection in the city by their teachers, staff, local fire department and law enforcement.

“The drill went very well,” said Sean Barham, Director of Operations for LCPS. “We brought the community partners in early, did a briefing last week, went over any possible troubleshooting that we needed to do and everything went off without a hitch.”

Sean Barham, Director of Operations for LCPS.

These drills are very important as they give students and staff an opportunity to engage in safety practices and help them to become familiar with correct protocols and procedures. Some examples to prompt an evacuation would include a gas leak, fire, bomb threat or anything that would deem a building unsafe.

The next step for schools in the district is to practice a reunification exercise which would account for the safety of every student and reuniting them with their families in case of an emergency.

— Samantha Lewis, LCPS Public Relations Coordinator, 575-635-9303, slewis@lcps.net