28 October 2021

Safety Drills at Butler

Safety Drills and Emergency Preparedness

We take safety very seriously, and I’d like to share some of the things we do to ensure our preparedness in case of an emergency, including to inform you about today's safety drill. Primarily we focus on planning and practice.


Our school has an Emergency Response Team made up of various staff members, and we meet at the beginning of the year to review procedures and plan for the year. We also dedicate time during a staff meeting at the beginning of the year to review our plans.  


Discussing and reviewing procedures is one important part of the process. Another important part is practicing safety drills to help us both to know what to do and to evaluate how we do it so we can improve.

Here’s our plan for safety drills:

  • We have unannounced evacuation drills ("Get Out") with staff and students throughout the year, as led by the Belmont Fire Department.
  • We also have lockdown drills ("Hide Out") with staff and students as follows: the first one is announced with the date and time shared with staff, the second is partially announced with only the week (but not the day) shared with staff in advance, and the third is completely unannounced. The purpose of this graduated approach is to develop confidence and preparedness.

I will communicate with families when we have had a lockdown drill to keep you informed and to prepare you in case your child has questions or wants to talk about it, which is why I am writing you today. 

Today's Drill

Today we conducted a brief, announced "Hide Out" safety drill at the Butler School.  

During today’s “Hide Out” drill,  we practiced locking our interior doors, clearing the hallways, and briefly waiting in safe and quiet spots while monitors (including myself) walked the building to assess our practices.  We will use what we observed and learned to inform our procedures.  The entire drill took 2 minutes and 43 seconds.

We conduct such drills very matter-of-factly with students without going into details about why they are necessary.  My recommendation to parents/guardians is to wait for your child to raise the topic to you and then respond in a developmentally appropriate manner.  If your child asks you why we had to practice staying safe in the building, you might say something like: “so you know what to do if you do not feel safe.”  You could compare this to practicing a fire drill as that is another way we practice being safe at school.

Here is a resource that might help guide you in conversations about violence: http://www.nasponline.org/resources-and-publications/resources/school-safety-and-crisis/talking-to-children-about-violence-tips-for-parents-and-teachers.  I am also attaching a pdf of the slides teachers used to guide discussions with children prior to today's drill for your reference.

Please do not hesitate to contact me if you have any questions.

With every good wish,




Danielle Betancourt, Principal


  1. KeepingSafeatButler!.pdf 10/28/2021 6:34:12 PM