Critical Incidents Team and safety drills maintain security at RHS

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Critical Incidents Team and safety drills maintain security at RHS

A friendly Safe-Ed staff member talks with and helps students during third lunch.

A friendly Safe-Ed staff member talks with and helps students during third lunch.

A friendly Safe-Ed staff member talks with and helps students during third lunch.

A friendly Safe-Ed staff member talks with and helps students during third lunch.

Angela Mammel, Entertainment Editor

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Assistant principal Mr. Casey Wescott walks down the halls of RHS, following the checklist of safety requirements he must go through daily to ensure the security of the school. He passes many safe-ed staff members and the police liaison along the way, who are all equally devoted to keeping the building as safe as possible for the students.

“We’re always finding ways to improve as best as we can through self-reflection and review,” Mr. Wescott said. “We have to always be prepared for every single emergency with the resources that we have so that we can do the best that we can in them.”

This self-reflection is very important in attempts to improve safety policies, and the Critical Incidents Team (CIT), a group of staff members devoted to security, meet throughout the school year to discuss ways to improve different procedures and provide training for specific emergencies.

“We have a group of about 15 staff members, who regularly can facilitate and help during an emergency,” Mr. Wescott said. “Together, we go through special training and look at how we can get professional development and information out to staff. We also look at overall procedures and review those with experts to provide a safer environment for our students.”

Along with the CIT, the police liaison and safe-ed staff members stationed within the school provide both security for the building and a positive face for students to befriend, according to Mr. Wescott.

“For our liaison and safe ed officers, one of the biggest things for them is to be visible in the school and be a positive aspect within our school culture,” Mr. Wescott said. “And from there, they make sure exterior doors are locked, check parking lot security and more.”

Sophomore Fatima Uddin says the security protocols are working.

“I definitely feel safe at school because there’s so many people here like teachers and security guards to help me feel that way,” Uddin said. “If something were to happen, we have so many people who have students as their first priority to take care of, and that makes me feel protected and at ease.”

Teachers also play a big part in keeping the building safe, and they are entrusted with many safety responsibilities, including the important task of leading their classes through drills.  Video productions and English teacher Mr. Chris Guyor explains.

“I hope we never need to actually use a safety drill in a real situation, but they are so important to the security of the student body,” Mr. Guyor said. “I [follow the procedures of drills] as closely as I can because I know a big part of my job is ensuring that students are safe and don’t get hurt.”

Although Uddin, along with many other students, thinks that security drills can be boring at times, she also sees the importance of them.

“We should be prepared if there’s going to be an emergency, and these help us do that, so they’re important in that way,” Uddin said. “Also, if anything were to happen, they’d help us know what to do so we don’t panic and run everywhere.”

By state rules, a specific amount of drills must be given every year, whether students like them or not.
“There are state laws, so for example we have to do evacuation drills and three lock down drills throughout the year, where one has to be during the hour,” Mr. Wescott said. “And five fire drills and two tornado drills throughout the year, as well. We also constantly seeing how we can make drills better and safer because they’re so important to student security.”

Mr. Guyor takes these laws and the aspect of safety in his classroom in general, very seriously.

“(Safety) is a big part of what I do,” he said. “We as teachers are trusted with people’s’ children, so I like to keep them safe.”

Mr. Wescott says all staff, such as teachers like Mr. Guyor, are interconnected for the purpose of keeping students safe, which is incredibly valuable.

“I’m grateful that we have such a dedicated staff that is very knowledgeable and serious about our drills, our school safety and our students,” Mr. Wescott said. “(I’m glad) that those things are taken very seriously and to heart.”