Emergency Procedures: How One School Responded to the Cuban Missile Crisis

An intriguing, coffee-stained document from Hillsboro High School was unearthed in the Archives back in 2003, hidden amid a pile of materials marked “somewhere else.”   It was a simple, routine form for students and parents from 1962; however, it was a simple, routine form that told a much larger story.


This form was given to students at the height of the Cuban Missile Crisis, requesting that parents decide how their children should get home from school in the event of “any type of attack.”

Sent just four days after President John F. Kennedy’s address to the nation, this form – as simple, routine, and coffee-stained as it is – connects us with a time in which the world came the closest it has ever been to nuclear war. It represents a moment in which Nashville, along with the rest of the world, held its breath and waited.

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