It’s a good day when businesses and schools come together to help one another, Michelle Bliss believes.
Bliss is the associate principal for student support at Golden Valley High School on East Childs Avenue in Merced. Along with Perry Flowers, school resource officer, she conducted a recent training session for area businesses on active-shooter situations.
“We are south Merced, we are community, and together it’s our responsibility to make life here the best and safest it can be,” Bliss said.
Representatives from Valero, McDonald’s, Hampton Inn and Holiday Inn Express took part in the training on how to be prepared in the case of an active shooter, campus lockdown or police activity in the area, Bliss said.
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Flowers termed the session a valuable experience and said business representatives received new information, particularly about how the school reacts to emergencies. The information also will be useful at the businesses if an armed situation were to occur there, he added.
“Training is essential,” Flowers said. “The more you mentally practice what you do, the quicker you can respond to an emergency. It’s good to have others in our community on the same page.”
Bliss said all businesses represented understood the importance of the training and the necessity for both the high school and community to work together in the case of a lockdown. She is hopeful that future training sessions can be held.
“All involved understood the need for communication between school and business, and look forward to improved protocols to make things as safe as possible in south Merced,” Bliss said.
Flowers cited reports on social media following a recent lockdown at Golden Valley that falsely stated there were students on campus with guns. He said the school is exploring use of an automatic phone dialer that could inform businesses about incidents or a contact number the firms could call to find out about campus incidents.
Bliss said the Valero representative told her the training is great because they can put a face with a name and have someone at the school to contact.
Officials helped businesses develop safety procedures for their own establishments and make employee training highly effective.
“It’s great to have real communication between us all,” Bliss said. “Businesses in this area have never done anything like this before.”
Sun-Star staff writer Doane Yawger can be reached at (209) 385-2407 or firstname.lastname@example.org.