School safety is on minds of educators throughout the country, administration at the South Summit School District is no exception.
Shad Stevens is the Assistant Principal at South Summit High School he’s also the chair of the district safety coordination committee. He explains what the committee does.
“We review the safety of our students, our buildings, our facilities in regards to any of our emergency response policies, procedures, and consider what needs to be adjusted and provide training. We provide training for our teachers and our students how to respond to these types of situations.”
Steven says that committee has shifted their focus from fire drills to active shooter trainings.
“It’s been probably over 50 years since we’ve lost a student in a school fire so the dynamics of the training and the focus of what we need to prepare for as a school faculty and staff has shifted to more of an active shooter/intruder type situation. Just recently we’ve done a training where we’ve invited a gentleman by the name of David Acosta who comes in and he focuses on helping teachers prepare to respond to situations. They prepare, they prevent and then if need so they protect in a situation. So, it’s a mindset training that we send our teachers through. He’s come twice now where we’ve done multiple hour trainings. Making them aware mentally how-to set-up a classroom. What to be aware for, how to interact with students. What signs to notice with students so that they can prepare for and hopefully prevent anything from ever happening. Be it a student-based situation or an intruder or parent type situation. It’s just making them very aware, but if they end up in a situation how best to respond.”
The district is aware of the need to be sensitive while training at the elementary school.
“With the elementary kids we might talk a little bit about it just like stranger danger type conversation. You can talk to them very carefully, but we do it in a way that you don’t put them in situations where they necessarily train or send them through a scenario, anything of that nature. We’re very careful with the delicate nature of the elementary kids but you definitely do not want to create fear, anxiety. The whole goal behind this is to actually create a little bit more peace about a situation. You want them to feel safe when they come to school. The focus with the elementary is mostly with the teachers. As we get up in the middle school we will involve them and include them a little more in that conversation. As we get to the high school some of the students are actually included in the trainings and the drills."