Are We Safe at RHS?

Matt Dalton, Veritas Staff

April 10, 2018

Day in and day out it seems our country is plagued by horrific tragedies. These tragedies are blasted through all forms of media whether it be TV, newspapers, or social media.

In the country’s most recent memory is the Parkland, Florida school shooting on February 14, which claimed the lives of 17 students and staff. People came home to their families and hugged their children a little tighter that day.

Students are meant to see school as a pathway where they will learn life lessons and figure out how to grow and flourish in their lives.

But can they succeed in doing this if they have to live in constant fear, asking themselves questions like “How will I get out if a violent intruder comes into the school?” or “Will my friends be ok?” Instead, they should be worrying about who they are going to take to the prom or the Spanish exam they have next class.

With these continuing atrocities being sent to us through our phones and TV’s it begs the question: Do students at RHS feel safe in school? The answer is split among RHS students. Some say that they are quite comfortable in school such as junior Mark Sprague, “Our school seems pretty prepared for a dangerous situation.”

But others, like RHS junior Declan Rogers, say that they would like to see more training for these things in case a situation were to ever arise.

RHS Principal John Harrison, and Asst. Principal KathyPaulding are obviously concerned about the safety of RHS students and staff.

Mr. Harrison explained that a new way of handling situations involving an intruder was adopted by RHS at the start of the year.  It is called ALICE which is an acronym that stands for Alert, Lockdown, Inform, Counter, Evacuate. Ms. Paulding said that these steps have proven to be the best way to respond to an active shooter event.

RHS faculty and staff received ALICE training in the fall and this week students are also receiving the training.

ALICE still keeps some of the same protocols as former “code red” lockdown procedures such as barricading the doors if necessary. However, opposed to other safety precautions,  ALICE allows students to get out and leave the building if it is safe to do so.

Mr. Harrison explained one of the most notable changes. “ALICE not only allows students to exit the building if they can, but it also empowers students to fight back instead of standing in a corner waiting to be shot.”

Students and staff will have the option of  slowing down a gunman by barricading the door, or distracting the intruder so that they are able to get away or give someone else enough time to get out.

Ideally, the school would like to prevent a shooter situation before it happens, but school administrators and safety personnel believe these new protocols are a needed step to ensure that students can rest easier knowing that staff and teachers know what to do in the event of an emergency.

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