By Jessica Masse
(WINDSOR, ON) – Pandemonium could have been prevented through proper communication on the behalf of the G.E.C.D.S.B yesterday with respect to the hold and secure protocol, which was suggested by the Windsor Police.
Another problem which arose yesterday was new Canadians who had language barriers could not understand what was going on and why they couldn’t pick up their children; there were no presence of translators.
Windsor Square interviewed Windsor Police Public Relations Officer Sergeant Matthew D’Asti, to ask him what is the protocol for a firearm situation with respect to informing the general community.
“Anytime we are investigating firearms call, our procedure is to notify the school board, then the school board uses the measures that they feel is fit to use based on the information we give them,” said D’Asti. “In this case based upon the information we gave them, they felt that a hold and secure measure was appropriate yesterday.”
When asked about notification to the general community, and if there was risk to the community yesterday, D’Asti informed the Square that, “Windsor Police sent out the information about the schools’ hold and secure measure, they put in place yesterday, through social media, Facebook, and Twitter.” He continued, “We did not find any firearms on the suspect at the time of arrest.”
Sgt D’Asti also cleared up a statement which was released to the Square by Windsor Police yesterday that it was one suspect arrested and not two. He said Windsor Police were initially called out to the 1800 block of N. Service Road, the call was then rerouted, after receiving word from a caller that the suspect would be on Bing Street near the mall. WPS also attended a residence located in the 600 Block of Capitol street, and a final arrest was made shortly thereafter with the suspect being charged with assault, mischief, and uttering threats.
When asked about some of the anonymous parents suggestions, such as an automated call to the homes of the parents or email/phone chain, Sgt D’Asti agreed that the use of an automated call, to communicate to the parents, would have helped yesterday in order to avoid the confusion, as well as lay any mistruths or exaggerations to rest. But he reiterated that this must come from the school board.
Windsor Square contacted the school board and is still waiting for a response. However board sources have expressed that they are in the process of rectifying the situation and are in the process of putting an RFI for the automated phone calls to be used in cases of this sort.
Additionally, the board will also entertain the idea of allowing parents entry into the school, during a hold and secure, rather than having them wait outside. Board sources also attempted to excuse the situation by emphasizing that the notification from WPS was not received until school dismissal time. However Sgt D’Asti indicated that Windsor police notified the board immediately after getting the complaint at 1:30 pm. This would suggest that the school board had an hour and a half, to contact parents, but failed to do so.
What do you think?
Should the school board adopt the protocol of sending out automated calls, email or phone chains to parents of children who attend Windsor schools in situations of a lock-down?