School Security

Godfrey-Lee Public Schools always takes the safety and security of our students seriously and employs a number of pro-active measures in each of our school buildings. While I hesitate to provide too many details regarding these measures lest they fall into the wrong hands, parents, students and staff can be assured that we review them regularly and conduct the state-mandated safety drills.

Michigan law requires the following minimum drills each school year:

  • 6 fire drills with at least four conducted in the fall
  • 2 tornado drills which we require be conducted prior to spring break
  • 2 emergency lock-down drills to secure occupants of the building against a hazards such as chemical spills or an individual (individuals) with a gun or other weapon

Because we are fortunate that our Board of Education funds a highly-trained Wyoming Police Department community resource officer or CRO (also known as the police liaison officer), we coordinate all of our drills with these important first-responders and get feedback from them on ways to improve safety, security and the conduct of these drills.

Our CRO and other authorities who have worked with us in the past have been very complimentary but have also provided us with valuable critiques so that we can better prepare for any emergency and keep our students and staff safe. And because our CRO is in our buildings on nearly a daily basis, he is able to interact with students and staff about safety concerns.

Because we conduct these drills annually, our students have become very good at responding to any “emergency” notification. In fact, earlier this year a fire alarm went off accidentally while a group of students were in their lunchroom and without even thinking about it, they left their lunches and took the correct immediate action in an orderly, timely manner. I have stayed in a number of hotels over the years and occasionally similar “false” alarms have gone off, but the occupants of the rooms rarely if ever evacuate the building. We were all proud of the way our students responded.

There is some debate in the mainstream media over recordkeeping and reporting of these ten drills but I assure you that according to attorneys we are following not only the state statute (MCL 29.19)  but also the Michigan Records Retention Schedule that only requires those records to be maintained on site for the current school year. We typically will keep them longer as they often contain information that will help us improve during the next drill but not any longer than necessary.

The recent SandyHook Elementary tragedy was another reminder to all of us that the safety and security of our students and staff is a high priority and worthy of the time we invest in planning and conducting drills. We balance that with our core academic mission of providing a quality education and preparing each of our students for high school graduation, college and career. You can be assured we will continue to review our procedures and update them as needed.

Parents with questions or concerns are always welcome to address them to your child’s principal, the Superintendent’s Office, or any member of the Board of Education. You can view our Board of Education policy/administrative guidelines at:

AG 8420 – EMERGENCY SITUATIONS AT SCHOOLS

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About David Britten

Retired U.S. Army Officer, former elementary, middle and high school principal, currently serving as a public school superintendent.
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