A blog about living in Aberdeen, New Jersey.

Monday, October 22, 2012

History: A-Attack Plan for Matawan Schools Formulated (1951)

The 18 Oct 1951 edition of The Matawan Journal included the Matawan school district's plan for sheltering and evacuating the children in case of nuclear attack. The plan would replace one where mothers would have created a 150-car convoy to retrieve the children from the school during an attack and bring them home.

A-Attack Plan For Schools Formulated
Children Will Remain Under Faculty Control; To Be Sent Home By Buses; Convoy Out

Russell A. G. Stetler. supervising principal of Matawan schools, notified the Matawan Defense Council Tuesday all arrangements had been made for caring for the school population in event of an A-bomb attack in accordance with directives on the protection of school children from the regional defense coordinator.

Mr. Stetler affirmed school authorities would exercise the same jurisdiction over the welfare of the children in an emergency as they do in regular school hours. In accordance with the directives, school authorities would decide, in consultation with the borough defense chairman, how long the children should be kept in the better security of the stone and brick school buildings before being released to return to their homes after an A-attack. Those going home by school bus in ordinary times would be returned by school bus in such an emergency.

This last stipulation appears to have nullified a prior plan to organize a convoy of 150 cars driven by mothers of the children to be routed to the schools by special roads after an A- attack to get the children and return them home. This prior plan was made in response to reported protest by mothers - they would insist on having their children returned home on either warning of, or directly after an A-attack. The state defense authority lately ruled against such moving about by civilians in an A-attack and formulated the rule on control by school authorities to give no excuse for it.

Mr. Stetler assured the council the school cafeterias would be kept well-stocked against the needs of such an emergency and the principals and teachers would be organized to perform special duties to safeguard the children's welfare in an A-attack.

Arrangements will be made with Mr. Stetler to release senior Boy Scouts from high school for air raid defense duty. Ray Gormley, head of the spotters division, warned there was a continuing shortage of personnel in this work. James Flynn, in charge of scouting, informed Mr. Gormley he was sure there would be at least 40 scouts willing to volunteer for this duty. Mr. Gormlcy said this was good as youths had a high perceptiveness and made good spotters, but added suitable number of adults also are needed to balance tho unit.

H. L. Cartan recommended the purchase of 20 unfinished suitcases at $3 each for use of the first aid squad. He said 10 station wagons are being lined up as emergency ambulances, and two suitcases would be placed in each station wagon. One would contain the medical supplies being received, and the second blankets and articles of care needed for persons strlcken in an A-emergency.

Harry J. Kahn, borough defense chairman, stated the defense council had a balance of $400 of the $500 appropriation given by the borough for this year. Mr. Kahn said the 2 kw. generator would be purchased in the near future and this would would use up most of the funds.

New Jersey's representatives in Congress were criticized for their part in the vote that resulted in the reduction of federal civil defense appropriations from $450,000,000 to $31,000,000. Mr. Kahn observed the senators and congressmen appeared to be ever anxious to vote "$100,000,000 for Tito's Yugoslavia or some other foreign country", yet were miserly in providing money for defense of the American people that the volunteer civil defense units become demoralized because they had no funds with which to buy essential supplies.


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