The Indiana Area School District is committed to taking proactive measures to protect the safety of all our students and staff members. We have made preparations to deal effectively with emergency situations that could occur in or around the school while classes are in session. While we hope that a natural disaster or other serious incidents never occur, our goal is to be as prepared as possible for any potential emergency. Our priority at all times is to protect all students and staff from harm.
The Indiana Area School District and all school facilities have emergency operation plans. The plans are designed with the assistance of administrative staff members, as well as local law enforcement, emergency management, and public health officials. The plans, which are regularly reviewed and updated, include procedures to respond to a variety of crisis incidents. School district personnel and students practice drills associated with specific emergencies on a regular basis.
The Indiana Area School District administrators consult with local, state, and federal health, safety, and emergency personnel to develop and maintain plans for coping with a variety of emergency situations. The District's Safety and Security Core Team is made up of school administrators and staff, and representatives of local and county first responders. The team meets during the school year to discuss crisis response, management, prevention, and communication. Members of the committee are NIMS certified and attend state and local safety and security training sessions annually.
If you have any questions about your school's safety responses, please contact your school principal.
Call 9-1-1 to report suspicious incidents or behavior or the Safe2Say app.
School Safety Procedures
Safety begins with prevention and having a plan in place. State law requires schools to conduct several drills a year, including practice for shelter-in-place, lockdown, and evacuation. Our Safety Coordinator, Mike Travis, as well as our administration trains on a regular basis with local law enforcement, the fire department, and other emergency response agencies. Every school site has security cameras and a secure single point of entry. Each school in the Indiana Area School District has a safety and security plan. These plans are designed with the expertise of administrative staff members, local law enforcement, emergency management, and public health officials.
The plans include procedures to respond to a variety of situations. In general, each plan involves the designation of a crisis management team, development of evacuation, shelter-in-place, lockdown, soft lockdown, and Run-Hide-Fight procedures, preparation of a portable critical response kit (Stop the Bleed Kits) that contains key information and supplies, designation of one or more appropriate evacuation sites, provisions for training personnel and updating the plan, checklists for dealing with specific types of incidents and resources for help before, during and after an event.
Emergency Notification Procedures
In the event of a school delay or closing, parents will receive a phone call from the District’s Emergency Phone Alert System to the primary phone numbers listed with the school. You may also receive a text message and/or email notification as well.
- Calls are made no later than 10:00 p.m. and no earlier than 6:00 a.m.
- Your caller ID will display “Indiana Area School District”.
- If you unsubscribe to any school communications you will no longer receive notifications from the District including important information about delays, cancelations, or emergencies.
- On the days in which school is canceled due to inclement weather, all athletics and extracurriculars are canceled as well.
- PLEASE UPDATE YOUR CONTACT INFORMATION BY CONTACTING YOUR CHILD'S BUILDING SECRETARY FOR ASSISTANCE.
Additional Information Sources for a Delay/Closing/Emergency:
- School District Website: www.iasd.cc
- IASD Twitter: @IndianaAreaSD
- Facebook: Indiana Area School District
- IU28 School Cast: https://schoolcast.iu28.org/
- KDKA TV, www.kdka.com; WPXI TV, www.wpxi.com; WTAE TV, www.thepittsburghchannel.com
Emergency Contact Numbers
Indiana County Emergency Management - Immediate assistance
Mobile Crisis Hotline - Suicide, Mental Health, and Drug and Alcohol
Pennsylvania State Police - White Township, Shelocta, and Armstrong Township
Indiana Borough Police - Indiana Borough
Childline -Safety and Well-Being of Children
Children and Youth Services - Safety and Well-Being of Children
Parent Emergency Procedures
If there is an emergency at your child’s school, please help us by doing the following things:
- Check the IASD homepage, the IASD Facebook page, and/or our Twitter feed. We will provide credible, accurate, and useful information to the public as soon as possible. Expect to see our posts updated as necessary. We will also provide updates to local media, but be aware that emergency situations can change rapidly. Information received from sources other than the school administrator or IASD communications office may be inaccurate.
In addition, we will use our phone and text notification system to contact parents and guardians with updates and information in as timely a manner as possible. Please make sure your emergency contact information is always up to date at your child's school. To update your contact information, please contact your child(ren)'s school.
- Do not call or go to the school. In an emergency, onsite staff is focused solely on getting everyone to a safe location. Showing up to the site can create unnecessary traffic, prevent emergency vehicles from responding quickly, and may also put you in danger. Regarding the phones, we understand and respect your concern, but it is essential that the telephone system be available for emergency communications.
If you get a call or text from your student, help him or her remain calm. Remind your student that the school staff knows what to do in an emergency situation, and will work to keep everyone safe.
- In the event of an emergency evacuation, each building has been assigned a reunification site depending on the situation. Parents will be informed of the site in a communication from the District.
- Familiarize yourself with the terms used during emergency situations:
- Soft Lockdown: Used to secure the building from a potential threat outside the building, such as when an unauthorized person is loitering on school grounds or when there is criminal activity in the neighborhood. Exterior doors are locked, but normal activities continue inside the building.
- Hard Lockdown: Used when there is an imminent threat directly outside of a school. Normal activity does not continue. Doors are locked, windows are closed and locked, and blinds are closed. Everyone is directed to move away from windows and into a safe place. IASD will remain in a hard lockdown until advised by police that the imminent threat (outside of our school) is contained. Note: IASD will not open any exterior door for anyone other than local first responders while in a hard lockdown.
- Evacuation: When students and staff are moved out of the building to a pre-designated safe location.
- Shelter-in-place: Used during severe weather or other environmental threats (e.g., air contamination due to a local fire) to keep people safe while remaining indoors.
- Hold and Secure: A response to an incident requiring staff and students to remain secure in their classrooms/offices so that the incident can be resolved by school personnel.
RUN. HIDE. FIGHT.
When an active shooter incident occurs, the response recommended by the U.S. Department of Homeland Security, FBI, OSHA, and the Department of Labor, is to RUN-HIDE-FIGHT. This philosophy of surviving an active shooter incident offers options for students and staff when dealing with this violent crisis.
The Indiana Area School District implemented the RUN HIDE FIGHT training program with staff and students in 2017. Age-appropriate training for all District students is based on this philosophy. Drills are conducted annually during the school year to ensure everyone knows what to do before, during, and after this threat.
School Safety Parent Resources
The National Association of School Psychologists (NASP)
American Psychological Association
The National Child Traumatic Stress Network
American School Counselor Association
Scholastic: Resources for Responding to Violence and Tragedy
- Resources for Responding to Violence and Tragedy: Expert advice for teachers and parents on reassuring children after disturbing events.
- 3 Tips for Talking to Your Kids About Scary News
- Talking to Your Kids About Natural Disasters, War, and Violence
The list of resources below is intended to be a starting point for parents/guardians who are interested in talking with their children about safe and responsible behaviors online. If you have any suggestions for additional resources, please contact Mr. Randy O'Neal, IASD Director of Technology. Thank you!
- Protecting Your Kids and Teens Online (PA Attorney General)
- Parent Resources (FBI.gov)
- Electronic Aggression (CDC.gov)
- Privacy and Internet Safety (Common Sense Media)
- NetSmartz Resources (MissingKids.org)
- StopBullying.gov (US Department of Health & Human Services)
Child Exploitation Resources for the K-12 Community
School staff follows practiced procedures to ensure that students and the public are safe and secure. The principal and his/her team first contact emergency services and then district administrators who initiate a building crisis team to gather information on the type and degree of threat.
IASD office staff have been trained to react to all threats of violence in a prescribed manner, based on consultation with law enforcement. All threats are treated as real, and we report them to local, regional, and national law enforcement as appropriate for investigation and prosecution.
If a threat is deemed credible, students and staff will evacuate the building and go to a pre-determined safe location. Families will be notified via BrightArrow as soon as students have reached the safe location. Evacuation does not necessarily mean that school is over for the day. IASD can arrange for buses to keep students safe and warm in the event of poor weather. Notification regarding school being released for the day will ONLY come from the IASD central office and will include the reason for the release and pickup instructions.
When a critical incident impacts a school community, we notify parents as soon as possible via our BrightArrow notification system. Please make sure your emergency contact information is always up to date at your child’s school. Also check the IASD homepage, the IASD Facebook page, or our Twitter feed for updates.
Typically, emergency situations are fluid and multiple agencies are involved, so communication is coordinated through the “lead agency,” which may cause a delay in notification. We will provide as much credible, accurate and timely information as possible. Information received from sources other than the school administrator or IASD communications office may be inaccurate.
Buildings are sometimes placed in soft lockdown for a brief amount of time, when a school is, for example, notified by law enforcement that a search or arrest warrant is being served nearby. During a soft lockdown, students are brought in from outdoors, but other activities within the school continue as normal. Most modified lockdowns are for very short periods and often students are unaware that one is occurring. If a soft lockdown causes a major disruption in the normal school day, IASD will generally notify families via BrightArrow.
All IASD staff and members of the community are encouraged to report anything they see, hear, or are made aware of if it may impact a school or school program. If you see or hear something, say something: call 911 or the District's Safety Coordinator, Mike Travis, at 724-463-8713 x3122
If required, IASD will determine the course of action and next steps in order to maintain a safe and secure school environment.
Following recommendations from the comprehensive safety-security study done in 2018, we initiated additional security measures for the 2018 year and beyond. These additional measures include the following:
- Increased the number of armed security guards in the District - one at the High School and one at the Middle School.
- Initiated an anonymous tip-text line for all students in crisis or with tips of impending danger through the Safe2Say Something platform.
- Updated the District's emergency and response plans.
- Increased training and professional development opportunities for staff, including active shooter training.
- Increased emphasis and follow-up on lockdown, bus evacuation, fire drills, and shelter-in-place drills.