By Kate Ryan
Schools in Montgomery County need to train staff on making 911 calls and how to use “bleed kits,” according to a report sent to the Maryland Center for School Safety in the months following the January school shooting at Magruder High.
The report also said the school system should review whether law enforcement agencies have access to the technology — including school-issued key fobs — needed to open locked doors in emergency situations.
The report was sent about five months after a student was critically injured, after being shot in a bathroom during the January incident. The suspect — another student — was arrested in a classroom in another part of the school hours later.
Maryland law requires an after-action report to be filed with the Maryland Center for School Safety in the case of critical, life-threatening incidents that occur on school grounds. The report was sent to the center on May 13.
Ed Clarke, the chief safety officer for the Montgomery County Public Schools, wrote the report. In it, he said, “It Is extremely important for MCPS staff to have all necessary information to provide the 911 call taker so that the necessary emergency resources are dispatched correctly.”
The report says that along with helping school staff understand what 911 call takers need to know, there could be training for call takers “on what questions to ask school callers.”
The incident at Magruder was initially reported to 911 callers as a possible stabbing. Clarke’s report states that the “situation was complicated initially” for several reasons.
The injured student was “not cooperative” in explaining what had happened in the bathroom, the report says, and students who fled the bathroom “never came forward to any school administrator or staff member” to report what happened — or to ask for medical help for the injured student.
During a recent news conference with county officials, Clarke praised the initial response to the shooting, and in his report stated that the Community Engagement Officer assigned to Magruder High School arrived on scene within seven minutes after the first 911 call was made.
That officer, according to Clarke’s report, “gathered key information that the incident was not an active shooter.” Those actions, Clarke wrote, “allowed for a priority and expedited police response.”
The report also states that the injured student received immediate care that “contributed to saving this student’s life.”
Megan Wilson, the school health nurse assigned to Magruder High School, assisted the injured student. She used what’s called a “Stop the Bleed” kit, which contains tourniquets, bandages, gauze dressings, and in some cases, a seal that can be used for large, open wounds.
Making sure that school staff have access to “critical information” during a school lockdown is also an area for consideration, according to the report. Clarke wrote that there will be an evaluation of what technologies, including cellphones, allow for effective communications.
And noting that the Magruder High School lockdown lasted for hours, Clarke wrote in his report, “Options should be explored as to how students and staff can use restrooms” during a prolonged lockdown.
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