School focuses on student safety

  School administration and teachers are once again reviewing emergency procedures and looking at better ways to keep students safe at school.

    In the past two school years, the district and the high school building have been re-evaluating and improving security measures and evacuation plans. Teachers reviewed plans again at the last professional development meeting this month. Staff also went through live shooter training at the end of last school year and this year a company called Shield Solutions will be working with the staff as well.

  “After the seminar last year I feel better equipped to deal with certain situations,” English teacher Tricia Foster said. “We’re taught to not just hide, but to fight back against intruders.”

  “I haven’t been to any of the mandatory trainings here, but I have gone to some at other schools I’ve taught at,”  science teacher Jason Ollison said. “The seminar makes you more aware, but it doesn’t necessarily make you more safe.”

   Ollison explained that it’s now mandatory for teachers to attend these seminars a certain amount of hours every year as provided by the school.

    Out of a poll that was sent through email to the entire Warsaw high school student body, only 28.6 percent of the students that answered said they didn’t feel safe in school. 35.7 percent answered that they did feel safe in school. 35.7 percent of students answered that they had no opinion.This poll was taken October 14 and had 141 responses.

  Studies show that 7.1 percent of students in the United States actually skip school on an average of every 30 days purely because they don’t feel safe in the environment, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Youth Risk Behavior Survey.

  This survey also shows that the level of safety varies by race, with white children feeling the safest (only 5.6 percent admitting to skip school due to lack of safety). African Americans come in second, only 7.9 percent skipping due to lack of protection at school. Hispanics were recorded as feeling the least safe, with a 9.8 percent absence every thirty days due to feeling that their school environment was too dangerous.

  “I don’t feel safe at school,” freshman Kayla Boucher said. “Because the doors by the art room that lead into the school are always open and it’s way too easy to get past that fence.”

  Principal Randy Luebbert explained that keeping all doors locked is next to impossible due to the Ag and Art buildings being outside of the main school.

     “We should lock the doors during school hours, and make the fence electric,” Boucher said. “Schools should have the responsibility to protect the children because our money (tax dollars) not only go towards our education, but safety, too.”

  “I don’t think our school can really ever be 100 percent safe because everything is unpredictable,” freshman Kamryn Yach said. “Even though we do have plans, in the actual event of an emergency it will be hard to get students who are panicking to become orderly.”

  “I think the school’s pretty well protected. I always see adults and teachers roaming the hallways,” freshman Kolby Estes said. “And I think it’s a good thing that teachers have to go to the seminars because in certain situations, some teachers might not know what to do or how to react. But now that they’ve attended, they know how to take it.”

 Principal Luebbert said the school and staff is doing what they can to create the safest environment possible.

  “The district does several things to keep our students protected. We have installed double doors in all buildings so no one is able to “just walk in our building” without being buzzed in by the office. We have a security team in each building. We keep all buildings locked during the day and, probably most importantly, we investigate any and all security issues that we hear about. We also run drills for fire, intruder, storm, and then after every drill we get feedback from staff on ways to improve,” Principal Randy Luebbert said. “The safety of our students and staff is number one on my list and I am always looking at ways to protect them and make them safe.”