Dear Parents:

    Should an emergency or disaster situation ever arise in our area while school is in session, we want you to be aware that the Denton Independent School District and Hodge Elementary have made preparations to respond effectively to such situations. In fact, public schools in Texas are required to meet stringent disaster response standards, and your children may be safer than in your own home in the event of a disaster.

    Should we have a major incident or disaster during school hours, your student(s) will be cared for at this school. The Denton Independent School District has a detailed disaster plan that has been formulated to respond to any crisis situation. In addition, a group of Hodge staff has been extensively trained by FEMA in their program “Multi-Hazard Safety Programs for Schools” which coordinates with other local, state and national emergency response systems.

    Your cooperation is vital in any emergency. In case of such an emergency, please help us by doing the following:

    1. Do not telephone the school. Telephone lines will be needed for emergency communication. Any large overload of services may result in the entire phone system shutting down, disabling phone contact with emergency personnel. It is important for parents not to telephone the school.
    2. In the event of a serious incident, students will be kept at their schools until they are picked up by an identified, responsible adult who has been designated as such on a school district emergency card which is filled out by parents at the beginning of every school year. Please be sure you consider the following criteria when you authorize another person to pick up your child at school:

    • they are 18 years of age
    • they are usually home during the day
    • they could walk to school, if necessary
    • they are known to your child
    • they are both aware and able to assume this responsibility

    3. Turn your radio to KNTU for emergency announcements. If students are to be kept at school or evacuated to their alternate site, radio stations will be notified.
    4. Impress upon your children the need for them to remain calm and quiet and follow the directions of any school personnel in times of an emergency.

    Students will be released only to parents and persons identified on the School District Emergency Card. They must have picture identification. During an extreme emergency, students will be released at designated reunion gates located on school campuses. Parents should plan on being patient and understanding with the student release process. It is a methodical process designed to ensure you that your child has been released to the adult of your choice or is being taken care of by us until you, the parent, arrive. Please instruct your student to remain at school until you or a designee arrives. Since local telephone service may be disrupted, also list an out-of-state contact on the emergency card since calls may still be made out of the area while incoming calls are affected.

    The decision to keep students at school will be based upon whether or not streets in the area are open. If this occurs, radio stations will be notified. If students are removed from campus, they will be taken to the Lifegate Church for parent pick-up. The Advanced Technology Complex (ATC) is the alternate back up off campus site.

    The basic disaster responses are:

    Evacuations may be ordered in the event of such incidents as fire and/or explosions. All students are to quickly go to their assigned exit and report to their advisory teachers.

    In case of a “hazardous release event” (chemical spill) or “police emergency” near the school area, “Shelter-in-
    Place” procedures will be implemented to provide in place protection. All students and staff will clear the areas,
    report to their rooms, and all efforts will be made to prevent outside air or intruders from entering classrooms
    during the emergency. “Shelter-in-Place” signs will be placed in classroom windows or hung outside classroom
    doors during a drill or emergency. Students arriving at school during a “Shelter-in-Place” drill or event should
    report to the school office or to a previously designated area at the school since classrooms will be inaccessible. When the dangerous incident has subsided, an all clear signal will be given.

    In the event of gunfire, students will be instructed to “hit the deck” which means quickly lying flat on the
    ground, face down. When the situation appears safe enough, the students will be brought back into the building
    for shelter-in-place.

    During the threat of severe weather, the students in the portables will be evacuated to the main building well
    before the weather is predicted to hit. The weather is monitored in a variety of ways by office staff. If necessary,
    other inside students will move to assigned weather safe rooms.

    Please discuss these matters with your immediate family. You may even want to begin your own family plan of
    action. We have also included a sheet of out-of-state emergency contact telephone forms for your family.
    Planning ahead will help alleviate concern during any type of emergency or disaster incident that may occur.

    Andrea Hare
    Hodge Elementary
    Building Emergency Response Team