Recently I received an alert from our campus security about a typed anonymous note that was found in the library. It gave a scenario of violence on campus. The local law enforcement was notified and everyone was on alert. Without knowing if it was a fantasy or hoax, the school had to take it seriously and investigate it.
After investigation, it was found that this note was part of a class assignment that was misplaced in the library.
As educators, we need to prepare our students for possible situations but we need to think about all of the what-ifs. After seeing what happened in this real life situation, I would like to make some suggestions that would keep this from happening.
1. Be prepared that if someone should observe a simulation or find some paperwork for the simulation, that it is clearly marked that it is a simulation. Many times on TV they will have a running line saying that this is just a simulation.
2. Notify administration or department heads about a simulation that you want to do.
3. Prepare students for the simulation and make sure that any paperwork is clearly labeled “Simulation.” Educate them on how anything not labeled and found would be taken as a serious threat, would involve law enforcement, and could have legal repercussions.
4. At a staff/faculty meeting or through an email, you might want to alert the faculty and staff that you are doing a simulation like this.
Have you done any kind of disaster simulation in your class or school? What suggestions would you add to this? Please share.