Family Reunification Process
Circumstances may occur at the school that requires parents to pick up their students in a formalized, controlled release/dismissal from a location other than their child's school. This process is called Reunification and may be necessary due to weather, a power outage, hazmat, or if a crisis occurs at the school. The Reunification method is a protocol that makes the process more predictable and less chaotic/confusing for all involved.
Reunifying students with their parents or legal guardians in the aftermath of an emergency is very important and requires planning in advance of the emergency to ensure everyone is safe. Accomplishing this goal requires the efficient, coordinated use of resources and efforts from across the entire community (including School District personnel, Emergency Management, fire, local law enforcement, and Emergency Management officials).
WHAT CAN I DO BEFORE THIS HAPPENS TO PREPARE?
Parents should always make sure to keep their emergency contact information up to date in the school so notifications will be made to you in a timely manner. ALWAYS bring your identification when you will be picking up your student(s).
Parents may be notified in a number of ways. The school may send out automated phone messages, emails, or website postings – usually, multiple messages to keep you updated on the event. ALWAYS BRING YOUR ID. Also, make sure that your personal information such as phone numbers and email addresses are up to date so you will receive these messages. Please do not call the school.
If a parent or guardian is notified that reunification is needed, there are some expectations that parents or guardians should be aware of. Do not go to the school - students will not be released from the school. Do not call the school - the staff will be involved with transporting students. Always bring identification to the reunification site. Reunification is a process that protects both the safety of the student and provides an accountable change of custody from the school to a recognized custodial parent or guardian. We cannot release students to anyone who is not listed on the Emergency Contact information for the school.
WHAT IF THE PARENT CAN NOT PICK UP THEIR STUDENT?
When a parent cannot immediately go to the reunification site, students will only be released to individuals previously identified on the student Emergency Contact List. Otherwise, the school will hold students until parents can pick them up.
WHAT IF THE STUDENT DROVE TO SCHOOL?
There may be instances where a student may not be allowed to remove a vehicle from the parking lot. In this case, parents will be advised to pick up their student(s) at the reunification site.
For parents, there are a couple of steps. If a parent is driving to the reunification site, greater awareness of traffic and emergency vehicles is advised. Parents should park where instructed to park by officials at the reunification site. Do not abandon your vehicle. Go to the reunification “check in” area and form lines based on the first letter of their student’s last name (if you have multiple students, you can check them all out in one line). Have your identification with you. While in line, parents will be asked to fill out a reunification form. This form is three-parts and will be separated by school officials during the process. Parents are asked to complete all parts of the form for each student they are picking up.
BRING ID TO CHECK IN
During check-in, identification and custody rights are confirmed for every student. The form is separated and handed back to the parent. From the “Check In” area, parents are directed to the “Staging” area. There, a runner will take your form and go to the Student Assembly Area to retrieve the student(s).
Parents should be aware that in some cases, they may be invited into the building for further information.
INTERVIEWS AND COUNSELING
In some instances, parents may be advised that a law enforcement investigation is underway and may be advised that interviews are necessary. In extreme cases, parents may be pulled inside for emergency or medical information.
Please understand that this process will take time and we will work to ensure that everyone is delivered safely to their parent or guardian.