SOMSD holds ‘Code Red’ drills at SOMS, Clinton

SOUTH ORANGE / MAPLEWOOD, NJ — The school district sent out the following message at 12:30 p.m. today, Nov. 2:

“As you know, we conduct state-mandated emergency drills — both a fire drill and a security drill — every month, so that students and staff know what to do to protect themselves in various situations.

“Today, we had a scheduled, but unannounced, ‘Code Red’ drill at SOMS, and we just began a drill at Clinton. A Code Red is generally called when there is the threat or possibility of an armed intruder in the building. This is the most serious form of lockdown. In such a situation, the halls would be emptied and students, staff and visitors would be secured in locked rooms until released by the police.

“Today’s drill was monitored by representatives from the NJDOE’s Office of School Preparedness and Emergency Planning, as well as representatives from the Essex County Prosecutor’s Office. This is part of a collaborative, statewide effort to ensure safe and secure school environments and to increase capacity to respond in the event of crises.

“As always, we will evaluate the effectiveness of our procedures in today’s drill, including monitoring students’ reactions, and assess whether there are any adjustments which can strengthen our standard safety practices. We will incorporate any feedback provided by the state and county representatives in this assessment.

“We are grateful for the continued partnership of the South Orange and Maplewood police departments in helping us practice this and other drills, and in keeping our schools, students and staff safe.”