Tuesday, May 1, 2012

Respect Responsibility Readiness

Respect Responsibility & Readiness ... 

so began the 5th grade trimester awards here in San Clemente, with the 3 R's of Concordia Elementary. But I digress, this story started the Friday before. Seems there was a fire that afternoon at the San Onofre Nuclear Power Plant just 2 miles away.  Over the school loudspeaker kids, k-5, were told to report to their classrooms and to remain there. Once back in their classrooms the smart kids asked that the windows be closed ... 

That day we picked up our children as usual and went home.  Monday came, no notice, no email about what happend, or what would happen next, Tuesday, still nothing.  We have a school that will send out an email or a note home when the children have head lice, (seems the 4th grade is having a serious infection this year). Wednesday found me sitting at the principles desk searching for answers. 

Dave Gerhard, Principal of Concordia Elementary told me that he had called the school and asked for the kids to go back to their classes in case they had to notify the teachers about a "Shelter in Place" or "Evacuate" order. When asked by me why no notice was sent out he told me that the school district by the way of Mike Beekman had decided that an email or a flyier home was not needed because only 5-6 concerned parents called the San Onofre Nuke Plant to see what was going on.  Why would this be a factor I wondered out loud? Personally I think 5-6 parents calling is a significant number. I asked Mr Gehard to please send out a notification, & he did 2 hours later to a list serve apparently I and many other parents are not on. Some Concordia parents got this message, some did not.

What I have always loved about this school is the implementation of "ConnectED" or a "Connected Education" to learning, there are rain barrels to capture the rain, butterfly gardens to feed the Monarch butterflies that our San Clemente has started to become famous for. There is even a full whale fossil on campus. All of these things are brought into our children's education as they are happening. They are connecting what is going on in the real world with what is going on in the classroom. 

I asked Principle Gerhard, What does "Shelter in place or Evacuation" mean to me or my child?

When he let me know that the school was thinking of having a representative from San Onofre put on something  I let Mr. Gerhert know they were not on the top of my list of corporations we should be trusting.  The recent nuke leak they lied about, falsifying fire reports, misleading the Nuclear Regulatory Commission on recent upgrades and documented problems with their safety culture.  His words gave me a chilling effect that went up my spine. 

So here it goes, I would want to see from our school is an answer to the 3 R's.

Respect the dangers of the Nuclear Power Plant and keep the parents involved and educated. Before this fire incident there was also a leak at the plant. Parents in San Juan Capistrano were notified by telephone of the leak. The plant is currently offline because of mechanical failures and unusual wear of parts recently replaced. These are all things the parents should be notified of.

You have Responsibility for our children and not to Southern California Edison, the owners and operators of the San Onofre Nuclear plant.

Readiness is knowing what would have been expected of us next. If this were a "real evacuation" what would happen? Where would we go to pick up our children? What is the plan?

What could happen down at that fossil 2 miles south of Concordia? Watch this video to connect the news to your education.


  1. From the beach, I can tell you Candace, there is no tsunami wall being built to protect San Onofre from a Fukushima style incident.

  2. Think of the lesson as being printed on a sheet of paper. Then think of the political contributions being printed on another sheet of paper. Which one do you think is on top of the stack?

  3. We have to learn from the mistakes of our past, which is particularly true when dealing with something that has such long reaching effects when not properly tended as nuclear material. It's saddening that we either have the arrogance to believe we can't possibly repeat mistakes made by others (even if we do not safeguard against them) or that the odds are it will be someone else's problem if anything goes wrong- ie; next generation etc...

  4. Shared this with my network Darin - I feel all of your points need to be contemplated by any of us in the US - especially near a nuclear power plant.


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