District 27 has a long history of putting student and staff safety at the very forefront of all operations. Our comprehensive, all-hazard emergency response plan is copyrighted specifically for our district and all staff are highly trained for all emergency scenarios, above and beyond state requirements. The key to maintaining such preparedness is practice.
At the start of each school year, all three schools conduct safety drills. We have been conducting evacuation drills and have scheduled our active intruder or “lockdown” drills to occur within the next several weeks. Each principal will designate a day for the drill to occur at their school, and parents will be notified ahead of that date via principal newsletters. We realize these drills are sensitive in nature and would never conduct these drills unannounced.
I am reaching out today to provide you with more information about the drills knowing that many of our District families were significantly impacted, directly or indirectly, by the tragic event that occurred in Highland Park over the summer.
In regard to our District lockdown drills, please know that:
- Law enforcement support from the Northbrook Police Department has been, and will continue to be, an integral part of our process. Police will be on-site to observe and assist in evaluating the effectiveness of these drills.
- Students are always briefed by school staff members in an age-appropriate manner prior to any lockdown drill so that they know what to do in the event of a lockdown situation being called.
- All building occupants participate in the lockdown drills: students, staff, and any visitors who may be in the building at that time.
- School administrators and school personnel may, at their discretion, exempt a student(s) from participating in a lockdown drill.
- District 27 has never made use of devices to simulate gunfire during a student lockdown drill. This will, of course, continue to be our practice in the future.
- District 27 has always had, and continues to maintain, a very strong working partnership with both the Northbrook Fire Department and the Northbrook Police Department.
- Our number one priority is always the safety of the students and staff, followed by efficient and accurate communication to families.
- Again, lockdown drills will never be conducted unannounced.
In the summer of 2021, the Illinois School Safety Drill Act, Public Act 102-0395 was amended to include:
- A parent or guardian may exempt their child for any reason from participating in a lockdown drill. Please provide written notification of this choice to the school office at least 24 hours prior to the drill.
- Schools must provide important safety education and instruction related to a lockdown event to students who do not participate in the lockdown drill, employing a less sensorial training approach.
- Students are allowed to ask questions during the drill.
Should you have any questions regarding our lockdown drills, please do not hesitate to contact your building principal. Thank you for your partnership.
John Deiter, Ph.D.
Superintendent of Schools