Tuesday, 2 February 2016

Bomb threats

Victorian schools have been plagued lately with hoax threatening that a bomb has been planted somewhere in our schools. This has caused a considerable amount of angst and disquiet and I believe that the police and DET are moving heaven and earth to find the source of these calls which have a remote automated sound. 
In the event of us getting a call, I would relocate the students to the oval ( off-site would be better but there is nowhere for us to go.) I would ring the police ( 000) and wait for them to search the school including school bags. Once it is clear we would resume class. I would ring parents ( we only have 4 families) and give them the option of talking their children home once the school has been searched.
Below is the latest memo on this matter from central office.

Dear Colleagues,

Over the past few days a number of our schools have received serious and threatening phone calls, which have been widely reported in the media.

More schools have received calls today, and it is possible that more schools may be affected in the coming days.

While we know that these calls have so far been hoaxes, it is vital that we continue to take these calls seriously and that schools enact their emergency management plans, including contacting 000 in every instance.

For the schools that have received these threatening calls, I understand the level of concern this creates in your community, and the anxiety that it can cause.

I also understand that these events are highly disruptive and very frustrating, and I can assure you that Victoria Police is investigating the origin of these calls. The Department is working closely with the police and is providing any assistance that it can.

I know that many of you – whether or not your school has been affected directly – are receiving questions from parents and carers. I encourage you to share this message with your communities, and reinforce that our number one priority is always the safety of our students and staff. We will continue to take each of these calls seriously.

The Department has prepared a draft letter to support your communications with parents.
Please see: Sample letter for parents - Hoax phone calls to Victorian schools

The Department has also arranged for Student Support Services to attend each school that has received a threat. Please remind your staff that the Employee Assistance Program is available for them should it be required.

Finally, thank you for your professionalism in the face of these disruptive and frustrating threats – this is a very difficult situation and our system will continue to put the safety and wellbeing of students and staff at the heart of our response.

Gill Callister

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