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Thibodaux schools prepare for a crisis; emergency-response drill

NBC33 Staff

POSTED: Wednesday, June 5, 2013 - 4:00pm

UPDATED: Tuesday, June 11, 2013 - 5:22pm

The Lafourche Parish Sheriff's Office said it's better prepared than ever for an emergency. They've been training ever since a city-wide bomb threat in Thibodaux last year.

Volunteers helped out with the emergency response drill at E.D. White Catholic School. After a bomb threat last year, principal Michelle Chiasson said she wants to make sure they are ready in case there's ever an actual emergency.

"They have a new threat. School used to be sanctuary and it used to be a place of safety, but many students wonder if today's the day it will happen at my school," Chiasson said. "Through that came the idea that we really need to run a true mock drill, and see how law enforcement agencies respond, how schools respond."

Both Betty Denos, a parent, and Conner Pate, a student volunteer, said the drill makes them feel more at ease if a real crisis happens.

"But if we can put ourselves in situations similar to what could possibly happen," Denos said. "I'm all about protecting children my own as much as everyone who's entrusted into my care."

"It makes me feel better, more prepared, more aware of what's going on around us to help us learn from it," Pate said.

They wanted the drill to feel as real as possible, and the student volunteers were happy to take part.

"The students were a little apprehensive," Chiasson said. "Some of them because they really don't want to think of the reality of it happening in our school, but very much want to have a plan and they want to know that their administrators have a plan."

The Lafourche Sheriff's Office in conjunction with 15 area agencies conducted drills at seven schools today, so they'll be prepared if there's ever a parish-wide emergency.   

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