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School safety is a top priority at our school and our school safety committee has asked that the following procedures and instructions be shared out to our community at John Hay. For specific details around Seattle School District's safety policies please visit their website.

Below you will find information on: a) what we do at John Hay to help prepare for unpredictable events and ensure the safety of our students, staff, volunteers, and community members on our campus, and b) what we need YOU to do on a daily basis and in case of emergencies, whether you are on or off our campus. We realize this page s fraught with elements of the unknown, perhaps leaving more questions than answers. This will by no means answer every what-if question or scenario that could possibly come up, but it will give you some guidelines of which you need to be aware.

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Federal and state laws require Seattle schools to conduct the following minimum number of drills per year:

1 Earthquake drill

3 Fire drills requiring evacuation

3 Lockdown drills

1 Shelter-In-Place drill

While we are not required to practice a family reunification scenario, we have scheduled one for staff for next week.


A lockdown is called if there is a threat to those on our campus within or near the school boundaries. In the case of a lockdown situation, playground and hallways are evacuated into appropriate classrooms, all exterior and classroom doors are then immediately locked, blinds are pulled, lights are turned off, and all students, staff, volunteers, and visitors are hidden in stillness and silence. Know that in an event of an actual lockdown, the district will communicate and update you. It is imperative that you update your email and phone information with us in the office and that you add SPS to your email whitelist.


A shelter-in-place is called if there is a threat in the near-by community, which warrants us to take precautions. In the case of a Shelter-In-Place situation, the playground is evacuated, all exterior doors are locked, blinds are pulled, however classes remain in session and students, staff, volunteers, and visitors are free to work as usual inside the building. There will be one exterior door that will be a designated ingress/egress door monitored by administrators. Signs will be posted at the entrance doors informing you where the monitored ingress/egress door is. Typically during a low-incidence shelter-in-place, you can expect a communication from building leaders after the fact.  Should the shelter-in-place go to a lockdown, district communication protocols will go into effect, described above.

Family Reunification

A family reunification event is one in which family members or emergency contacts are required to pick up students. This is a very structured process that requires a great deal of patience and cooperation on the part of you or those coming to pick up students in order to ensure the safety of all students. This process may take more time than you would expect or want but it ensures a number of things: a) That students are kept safe, b) that only authorized people are picking up our students, and c) that we know if/when students are picked up so we can communicate that to other concerned family members or parties. Know that during such an event, the district will communicate and update you. Again, it is imperative that you update your email and phone information with us in the office and that you add SPS to your email whitelist.

Our philosophy when running drills is to first practice well. This means that the first one or two drills of each kind are announced ahead of time so staff can clearly educate students about logistics and expectations. Thereafter, as we continue practicing throughout the year, the remaining drills are unannounced to better replicate a scenario.

Attending to Hay Way, Bus Zone, and Crosswalks

Hay Way

We have at least two staff members and school safety patrol greeting you at “Hay Way”, the pick-up/drop-off zone located on Garfield St. in front of the school. These staff members are there to help maintain a safe zone for students to be dropped off and picked up. In my 15 years in education, there is not one elementary school that I have seen or spoken with for whom this is not challenging. For some people, they are often in too big of a hurry to respect the process, others don’t usually pick up or drop off students and may be confused, and students aren’t always where they are supposed to be. And so we wait, sometimes patiently, sometimes not.

Bus Zone

Our bus zone, located behind the school on Galer Street, is a pretty smooth-running operation. We now have at least two adults, often more, attending to students in bus lines, helping to ensure appropriate behavior while waiting, and escorting them to their respective buses.


Our wonderful Safety committee trains and monitors our crossing guards on a continual basis to help them be safe themselves and ensure the safety of others needing to cross high-traffic intersections. 

What You Can Do at Hay to Ensure Everyone’s Safety

Signing In

Whenever you enter our building, please make the front office your first stop, please sign in, and please put on the appropriate button or sticker so everyone knows you are a friend of John Hay. In order to ensure your safety, should you be here during a drill or during an emergency event, we need to know that you are in the building. If you do not sign in, we do not know to account for you and therefor will not go looking for you should you not be at the flagpole, your designated area (see below). Thank you.

Attending to Hay Way, Bus Zones and Crosswalks

  • Please remain cell phone free. We have seen too many close-calls from people texting and talking on phones while inching forward. Thank you.

  • Traffic flows from West to East.

  • Please unload and load students in the designated area.

  • There is no parking on Hay Way. Please do not exit your vehicle. Patrol students will assist your child to the car.

  • Please approach our Hay Way with the idea of best intentions, care, and respect for those navigating you through the process.

  • If your student rides a school bus, please remind her/him of appropriate behavior in the bus lines while waiting for the buses as well as when riding them. I tell students they are still in school when riding the bus.  The bus is their classroom and the driver is their teacher.

  • Please refrain from allowing your other youngsters to ride around the playground on bikes, push bikes, scooters, and skateboards until all buses have departed in the afternoon.

  • As winter descends upon us, visibility from automobiles decreases exponentially. Please exercise extreme caution when entering intersections surrounding our campus. Thank you.

  • Please use crosswalks. All too often we see families sprint across streets, especially near the bus zones. Last year there was an accident involving an automobile and a family crossing the street at an undesignated place, causing injuries. And just this year I have witnessed two near-misses. There is no reason we should be teaching our children to cross the street anywhere but at a designated crosswalk. Our actions become theirs. I admit, I need to mind this rule even with my own children. Thank you.

  • It is not uncommon to see a crossing guard misbehaving on one or two occasions. Please let the office know if you see this occurring and will take the opportunity to re-educate those who need it on appropriate crossing-guard duties and behaviors. You won’t be “telling on them”. You will be letting us know of an educational opportunity. Thank you.

  • Dogs: Please do not stand near any entrances with your dog. Some students have reason to fear them no matter how docile. Last year, we have already had two students bitten by two different dogs. If you enjoy bringing your dog, please tie them up somewhere that does not see a lot of student foot-traffic. Thank you.

Drills/Emergency Events


During an earthquake or earthquake drill, you will want to find the nearest surface under which to duck and cover. There may be studies and theories that suggest other actions to take. This is the action that our local police and fire departments require us to take. We ask you to do the same. Thank you.


In the event of a fire or fire drill, unless otherwise informed, please exit outside to the playground and wait by flag pole. The office staff will be bringing, among other things, the volunteer and visitor check-in notebooks and will be taking your attendance at the flagpole. This accentuates the importance of signing in at the office. If anyone is missing, we have a team of experts to conduct a search and rescue. Therefore, you need to be at the flagpole first, so we don’t send in a team to look for you unnecessarily. If your assistance is needed elsewhere, you will be notified. Thank you.


In the event of a lockdown, please get to the nearest classroom and respect the charges of the teacher. If you are in or closest to the office, the office behind the desks of the main office is your destination. Either way, you will need to sit in the area designated by the teacher and help maintain silence and stillness around you.

Note: During a lockdown, if you are not already in the building, you will not be allowed in the building once the doors are locked. This is likely the hardest part about being a family member wanting in and equally as challenging for administrators who cannot let you in. The best thing for you to do is to seek shelter as quickly as possible elsewhere in the nearby community.


During a shelter-in-place situation, you may move about within the building freely and continue your work. Please refrain from leaving the building. All exterior doors will be locked. There will be one exterior door that will be a designated ingress/egress door monitored by administrators. Signs will be posted at the entrance doors informing you where the monitored ingress/egress door is.

In any event, the best help you can initially offer is to respect the charges given you by teachers, office staff, and/or administration. If we need your assistance in other ways, we will ask for it.

Family Reunification

In the event of a more serious crisis, there is a plan for reunifying family members with their children. Because we need to ensure that students are going home with a trusted family member or emergency contact, this is a methodical, time-consuming process and we need your cooperation and patience. Your students will be well-cared for by our emergency teams.

To reunify with your children, please come to the staff parking lot and meet with the office team to check in and provide the name of our student you or the designated person is picking up. You will then be instructed where to go to be reunified with the student.

Note: This is obviously a tense time for everyone involved. The better you can maintain civility and respect and follow the instructions given to you, the safer this process will be for all.


In the event that we need to evacuate and relocate, our relocation site has been identified as Coe Elementary. Once there, we will have a family reunification plan and process in place similar to that described above, however it will be at Coe.

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