Private schools in Florida are coming together to share their resources in case of a school emergency.
Dana Markham is the president of Pine Crest School in Fort Lauderdale. She says private, independent schools don’t have a support network the way public schools do.
Public middle and high schools, for example, share School Resource Officers — police officers who visit school campuses every day. Markham says if private schools want a police officer on their campuses, they have to pay an off-duty officer and hire them through a law enforcement agency.
She’s asked nearby private schools to create a crisis management plan together, utilizing each school’s existing resources.
Markham says many private schools can’t afford their own school transportation system. But Pine Crest School has 48 school buses Markham says she will share with any other school in case of an emergency — like if a school needs to be evacuated.
“We could arrive at their school and pick up their children and bring them back to our school and help them dismiss to their parents,” she said.
Markham says the idea of collaborating on a private school emergency plan came after the Newtown, Connecticut shooting when 26 elementary school children and employees were shot and killed.
She says the plan won’t be identical for every private school because they vary in size and in the age of the school children.
“But we can follow certain procedures, make sure everything is covered and help each other in times of need,” she said.
Six private schools in Fort Lauderdale, Boca Raton and Palm Beach County have already met to collaborate on the new plan. Five more private schools are expected to participate at a second meeting later this month.