How prepared is your school for a crisis situation?

How prepared is your school for a crisis situation?

Yesterday’s stabbing of a 45-year-old man outside a Brisbane school shows the need for rigorous emergency response procedures in schools, Queensland Teachers Union (QTU) president, Kevin Bates told The Educator.

Bates’ comments follow an incident in which a 45-year-old man was stabbed five times during an altercation with another man in the car park of Wynnum State School in Brisbane.

The Queensland Police Service (QPS) said two men who were known to each other became involved in an altercation in the school car park off Boxgrove Avenue around 2.45pm.

Regional Duty Officer acting Inspector, Andrew Dupere, said both men were parents who were at the school to pick up their children.
Parent Michelle Hazel, whose son is a year four student at the school, told the ABC the incident happened within the school grounds but outside the school's front gate.

"I noticed a teacher running through the front gate calling 'shut the gate, lock the gate - we need to call the police' and then I saw the principal running out of the office," Hazel said.

"She was making sure the front gate was secured and there was talk amongst some of the parents that there was a domestic in the car park, and I did see a man on the ground being attended to by ambulance officers as I drove past.

"There was another deputy [principal] waiting along the pathway to stop any children from exiting through to the front of the school.

"I made my way up to the meeting point for my son and there was an announcement that came over the loudspeaker letting students and parents know that for safety purposes there was to be no exiting through to the front gate at that point."

Queensland Teachers Union (QTU) president, Kevin Bates told The Educator that the quick thinking of the school’s staff was not just a natural reflex to protect students but part of rigorous training designed to prepare for – and respond to – such incidents.

“Teachers and principals report a lot of issues relating to upset parents who logically bring those issues to the school grounds because that’s where their children are located,” Bates told The Educator.

“This subsequently leaves principals and teachers to deal with the consequences.”

Bates said this has led schools to develop rigorous and well-enforced procedures as a result.

“There have been a number of incidents over the last few years which have seen schools develop very highly honed responses to emergency situations,” Bates told The Educator.

“Those procedures in Queensland have been really well worked out, and students practice these processes so there’s a level of training.”

Bates said that while the procedures may seem repetitive to some, incidents like yesterday’s stabbing showed how crucial the training was for both staff and students.

“It’s akin in some ways to what many people see as unnecessary briefings at the beginning of each flight about the safety processes, but it’s a proven fact that this repetition is part of ensuring people genuinely understand these processes.

“Teachers’ priority is always keeping staff and students safe, so that’s where their focus is going to be.”