June 2, 2008

Mason, Ohio Disaster Drill Mistake Panics Parents


wcpo.com

Reported by: Deb Silverman
Web produced by: Ian Preuth

Eight hundred Mason, Ohio families got a call Tuesday afternoon that there was a disaster at Mason Heights Elementary and their children should be picked up at the school. Turns out, nothing had happened at the school. It was part of a disaster drill.

The district spokeswoman Tracy Carson apologized for the panic it created. She said the call should have started out explaining it was a drill. A letter did go home to parents last week notifying them a drill was going to happen in the district.

Parents said they panicked when they got the recorded call that a boiler exploded at the school and to pick up their children.

One mother told 9News she realized while she was in her car on the way to the school that a letter had warned parents of the drill. A few minutes later the district sent out another call to all Mason Heights parents telling them it was part of a drill.

The drill was designed to help teachers and emergency officials prepare for a disaster on school grounds.

Carson sent the following letter to parents on Tuesday:

I sincerely apologize for causing undue panic today during our district’s emergency drill.

The order of my calls was absolutely incorrect, and I understand the confusion that it caused.

As a parent, I know that nothing causes our hearts to race faster than the thought that our child is in danger. And, so from the bottom of my heart, I deeply apologize for any stress or heartache I may have caused today.

Sincerely,

Tracey Carson

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