Decidedly Academic. Distinctively Christian.
This morning’s Coffee with Mr. G focused on campus security, which is foremost in parent’s minds in the aftermath of last month’s tragic shooting in Connecticut. Highlights of Mr. G’s discussion are presented below:
Faith –and what we base our trust on—is a foundation of life. The trust and faith that we have had in previously safe environments has been grossly violated, as evidenced by shootings in schools, theaters, churches, and shopping centers. “Situations can’t be trusted anymore. So many rules have been broken; there’s been a loss of innocence.” When people do evil things, sometimes they can’t be prevented. But that’s no excuse for inaction and there are some things that WE CAN DO, i.e. improved procedures, protocols, and physical changes. Time is of the essence in these situations; if we take the necessary steps and are better prepared, it could minimize the impact and damage. There is shared agreement about this: regardless what kind of precautions you take, or preparations you make, there is no 100% guarantee.
We know there are areas in our campus situation that are vulnerable, so it is our plan next week to meet as a faculty team, during in-service, to review and discuss these areas that will require change and different approaches. It is the responsibility of every faculty member to be fully familiar with our crisis-plan procedures. Next week, as well, we will be meeting with the Glendora Police Department to conduct a security walk-through. The officer, in charge of this type of security, is even willing to meet with parents. Our motivation is very high to address these areas. We currently have a code to indicate that there is a questionable person or suspicious behavior on campus. When that code is announced, we have a full-blown lock-down. If there is an incident near-by in the surrounding area, but not on campus, we have a modified lock-down situation. Doors are locked, but we proceed with our business; this would be in contrast to a full-lock down where teachers make sure the students are gathered together, removed or isolated from harm’s way. When the preschool was built, higher fences, a single entry and a key pad were all installed. There is a mindset there with parents about what is required. It comes with inconvenience and a necessity to learn new procedures. Even with new procedures, sometimes the offender is someone who has access and is familiar with the environment. With the secured door at the preschool, it might make sense for us to change the secondary door, so that it’s also locked. We will be making changes to all the interior doors so that the teacher can lock them from inside the classroom. We’re currently getting bids for that procedure. We have added new lights in the parking lot and will also explore the idea of adding cameras in strategic locations and getting bids to determine cost. Ultimately, once all the input is gathered together, we will have to reach a point where we are willing to ask ourselves: What is absolutely necessary to be done? What are we willing to accept and live with, in terms of access and levels of vulnerability?
Areas that we will explore in the days ahead include:
The “new normal” most likely will see less freedom, greater restrictions, and greater inconvenience. However, we must embrace this as part of our professional preparedness. It’s our responsibility, as caretakers of your children, the children who God has called us to care for here at school.