Two takes on the Patterson evacuation
We were evacuated out of the building at 12:05. Not 11 as your article states. We sat outside for almost an hour and 45 minutes with no explanation or anything other than what we saw happening with all the police, fire trucks, helicopters, hazmat, etc. We were NEVER given any direction from a single administrator about what to do. Granted it was a confusing situation, but we had 1000+ students outside and teachers with no idea what was going on.
When the word finally came to send the students home, they were NOT initially let into the building at all. Students had bags, bus tickets, and other valuables simply left inside. There were some administrators saying we could go in to get kids stuff, others said no. Others said we could get the stuff for them.
It was never clear after most of the students had gotten onto various buses what the staff was supposed to do. We got absolutely no direction about what our role was.
AND MOST EGREGIOUS OF ALL was the response this morning. No faculty meeting to discuss the incident, no assurances that steps were being taken to ensure safety at all. All we got was a trite announcement that we were "back to business as usual" and a letter was going home to parents of students. What about us as staff? By not being given any information, we are totally in the dark about this all. Is this intentional or just another signal of the lack of interest in protecting staff? I want to be safe in my workplace, and if incidents happen that compromise this safety, I think assurances would be a GIVEN!!!! The climate of fear and lack of attention to staff/student safety is appalling.
I am holding out hope that during tomorrow's PD (professional development), things can be discussed further, but it seems as though it's just another little incident to be dealt with by saying "no big deal" and let's move on. But at the same time, this matter should have and was NOT dealt with immediately in terms of information flow and assurances to us-the people that keep this place going!!!
I asked the school system about the teacher's concerns. Here is an e-mailed response from Patterson Principal Laura D'Anna:
I had a message in the bulletin and sent a letter home to the students and community about it. We could not compromise the investigation or the crime scene. We followed directions from the Police and Fire Dept. Students were escorted into areas that were not crime scenes. Speculation would have caused panic. This morning we had to administer the PSAT and had Senior inauguration. Mr. (Roger) Shaw (the system's executive director of secondary schools) came to the building to talk to the administrators. We still do not have any solid information as to what was in the bottles. No teacher was held against their will. They left with the students and therefore could not be told what happened. Telling it on a parking lot was certainly not appropriate when we didn’t have concrete information. Teachers do not arrive until 8:35 when the children arrive. Therefore no time was available since students come in for homeroom.