HOLYOKE — On Friday, June 10, Mayor Joshua A. Garcia and Schools Superintendent Anthony Soto participated in a lockdown drill at Kelly School.
Such drills were already standard practice in Holyoke schools before the tragedy in Uvalde, Texas. But, in the wake of that shooting, Mayor Garcia said he wanted to better understand how Holyoke’s lockdown drills worked. He pledged to visit every school in Holyoke — public, private, religious and charter — to witness drills and confer with each school’s crisis coordinator to gain a more intimate knowledge of the workings of school security protocols and, as a result, better assist and support Superintendent Soto’s efforts to make Holyoke schools even more safe and secure. The Mayor and Superintendent have been visiting schools — sometimes two per day — since late May.
The Kelly School drill involved members of the City’s Police and Fire Departments, the School Resource Officer, a State Police Officer and school staff. Shortly after 9:30 a.m., the drill was announced over the school public address system and small teams of drill participants went from classroom to classroom checking on the preparedness of students and teachers.
The lockdown concluded with a critique among the police, fire and staff. Best practices were affirmed and praised and areas for improvement were identified and discussed.
School Superintendent Anthony Soto launches the June 10 lockdown drill at Kelly School as Holyoke Mayor Joshua A. Garcia (center) looks on.
Photo credit: HOLYOKE MAYOR’S OFFICE