School safety drills held in Westhampton, Southampton

Hampshire County

SOUTHAMPTON, Mass. (WWLP) – There will be an increased police presence at two schools in Hampshire County on Thursday due to planned safety drills. The purpose of this drill was to mimic a real threat to ensure the students and staff in the Hampshire Regional School District are prepared to quickly make their way to safety.

According to Southampton Police Chief Michael Goyette, the safety drill exercises are being held at the Hampshire Regional High School in Westhampton and the William E. Norris School in Southampton. Hampshire Regional High School in Westhampton was on “mock” lock down Thursday. 43 students volunteered, along with their parents, teachers and nearly a dozen western Massachusetts law enforcement agencies, participated in the school safety drill.

Goyette said there will be police officers from several communities taking part in the drills at both schools. He said he wanted to alert the public about the drills so those who drive by and see a lot of police are not alarmed.

Students had a half day of school and went home early. Once the high school was empty, the drill started and took into account one of the most essential components of a school crisis response, reuniting students with loved ones.

Superintendent Craig Jurgensen of the Hampshire Regional School District told 22News, “You can’t be prepared. all we can do is be aware. We can drill. We can do everything we can to prevent something happening, but we drill and we get as ready as we can.”

Students were bused from the Hampshire Regional High School under police escort. They were reunited with their parents at William E. Norris elementary school in Southampton. The reunification drill took about 30 minutes.

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