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ECA-APER release Emergency Guidelines for schools in case of a bomb/terror threat

December 5, 2023
Reshma Ravishanker

The Early Childhood Association and Association for Primary Education and Research have drafted emergency guidelines docket in case of a bomb threat in schools.

This comes in the wake of rising incidents of terror threats, threat of gun attacks or planting bombs in schools world-over. Recently, one such incident was reported from Bengaluru where over 20 private schools received threats via an email about bombs being planted on campus.

Besides a checklist for schools to gather information about the caller, the guidelines also have steps to be taken by the school staff in case of a bomb threat to safeguard children.

 Having advised schools that they could receive threats either through calls, e-mail communications or social media posts, the guidelines advise schools to immediately seek help from the local police. Prior to this, schools are expected to enlist numbers of local police, officers in-charge and doctors in the vicinity.

Should schools get a bomb threat via a phone call, they are encouraged to keep calm, engage in a patient conversation with the caller with a keen interest in drawing more information. The school authorities are also advised to have long-drawn conversations while immediately trying to reach the police on a parallel line from the school. Noting down information such as caller ID, background noises or music, tone of the conversation based on the checklist has been advised.

If the threat has been received via an email, schools have been advised to keep the web and log files handy while also refraining from replying, forwarding, or deleting the message. Arming the police with as much information as possible is a must.

The guidelines advise schools to be watchful about any unidentified packages that are left on the campus and also keep stakeholders informed.

Unexpected packages, those with poor handwriting, strange smell, no return address, replete with spelling errors must be handled cautiously and if suspicious, the police must be informed.

Post-event care

Should such hoax threats be given, schools have been advised to reassure or offer counselling to staff, send circulars to parents and make children resilient and encourage parents to restore faith in the school and send the child back to school once it resumes.

 “Remember that our children model their behaviour from their parents. So it is important to ask parents to stay calm and stick to normal routines. Everyone will experience this differently and all emotions are accepted. Listen to your children and allow them to express themselves,” the guidelines read.  

What schools must follow?

  • Seek police guidance
  • Do not use electronic devices near possible threat
  • Practice evacuation drills
  • Report unfamiliar items
  • Approach police immediately
  • Refrain from oversharing with media
  • Assign staff relevant roles in case of threat
  • Keep updated bomb-threat response plan

Read the document here: ECA-APER-Emergency Guidelines Docket In Case of a Bomb Threat Colour

Also read: ECA India welcomes NCF for foundational stage education

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