Admin bolsters safety
April 3, 2017
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Students will soon start to feel the effects of ongoing administrative efforts to improve campus safety. Surveillance cameras may monitor students in public spaces as early as the 2017-18 school year, as a result of a pending district school board discussion. With the launch of an online anonymous bullying report service, admin hopes to eliminate constraints keeping a student from reporting any harmful incident. In addition, admin now encourages staff and students to embrace their instincts during active safety threats as part of the reinforced “Run, Hide, Fight” procedure.
The school board is considering Roseville High School as the next campus to receive security cameras, after confirming installments at Oakmont High School for next year.
According to assistant superintendent of business services Joe Landon, the cameras on campus would record in color and include audio.
According to executive director of personnel services Brad Basham, RHS’ physical layout makes for difficult placement of surveillance cameras. With many separate halls and wings, a single camera’s scope wouldn’t cover much space.
Principal David Byrd believes that RHS may require more cameras than will be needed at other schools in the district such as Granite Bay or OHS due to its unique structure.
“My sense was that maybe we are going to need more cameras than other schools and maybe for that reason they want to get going on that,” Byrd said.
Surveillance cameras are expected to be installed at OHS before this fall. In the meantime, RHS administrators will discuss their aspirations and desires for the cameras with the district before any final decisions are made.
After instances of vandalism on campus, administrators hope the cameras’ addition will cut down the amount of grafitti.
Basham believes that the main objective of the cameras is to ensure maximum safety and security for students and staff.
“We also want to be able to monitor anyone that is coming and going from our campuses, not students or employees or anything like that.” Basham said.
The district is searching for a vendor of the cameras at the moment, trying to find what allows the most coverage of campus within a reasonable price.
On April 25, the board will vote on funding and possible approval of the security cameras.
The district has been searching for the past two years to find the right vendor to provide the cameras that will allow the most coverage and high amount of surveillance that will work best for RHS and it’s perimeter, within a reasonable price.
According to Byrd, the final decision won’t be decided or made public until school board and funding approval.
Bullying report system
To further ensure student and staff safety, RHS has begun the use of anonymous bully reporting through the Catapult EMS services. A link to the service has been added to the homepage of the RHS website.
Students can anonymously communicate details about a bullying incident. Catapult EMS will also help administration evaluate how long an issue has been taking place, as well as if an adult has yet been informed.
The Placer County grand jury recommended that every school must have some form of a bullying report system. RHS – along with other district schools – have decided to partner with Catapult EMS to provide an additional way to safely communicate with students, according to Basham.
“If we can get someone the help that they need, then it’s well worth it,” Basham said.
Once information is submitted, assistant principals will receive the data, where they will then begin investigating the scenario and adapting an appropriate solution.
Byrd believes the new addition to Catapult EMS could possibly be a very successful to help improve campus safety at RHS.
“The more of that we can be aware of, I think the more problems we can head off so they don’t turn into something bigger,” Byrd said.
Faculty have recently begun learning to use this system. However, administrators are currently evaluating if Catapult will be an effective form of student-to-assistant principal communication.
They have high hopes for the system’s possible safety benefits. Assistant principal Jason Wilson wants all students to feel safe in their learning environment and to come forward if they have witnessed bullying.
“That’s one of the most difficult things for teenagers to do, is to come forward, and ask for help, or suggest that someone else needs help, for fear of retaliation,” Wilson said. “Bullying and harassment includes retaliation, that’s right in there along side of it, so we do our best to make sure that doesn’t happen.”
“Run, Hide, Fight”
Roseville High School’s active threat protocol is reinforcing the “Run, Hide, Fight” approach to active-threat situations.
Administration is recommending staff and students follow their instincts rather than the routine and procedures they have previously been taught in school.
“This [original] policy tells me to lock my door, turn out my lights and stay there, but there are scenarios where that is not the best thing,” Byrd said.
Byrd wants to avoid a situation where a teacher looks to “a long, complicated manual” in an emergency.
He wants staff and students to know that they “have permission to use their instincts.”
Wilson has experience being in an active shooter situation and found that regardless of the rules, students and staff use their gut reactions rather than follow protocol.
“Gut reactions of kids and staff is the right thing, they run and get themselves away from dangerous situations and that’s exactly where we want to be,” Wilson said.
Part of the reason for change was to simplify the active threat protocol.
“If we simplify it to either: run, hide or fight, we think it will stick in your brain and your instincts will kick in,” Byrd said.
Student resource officer Marc Kelley stresses safety as the most important factor for the change in protocol.
“We just want you safe and we don’t want you hurt,” Kelley said. “So it’s better, if somebody chose to run, that you run away and get off campus.”
Wilson doesn’t “expect or want” students to become responders to the threat but wants them to do the safe thing and know they have more options than hiding.
“Get out of harm’s way and remain out of harm’s way and allow those that have the ability and skills, to resolve the situation,” Wilson said.
All administrators agree that fighting should usually be a student’s last resort, stating that “running and hiding is statistically the smartest,” but they don’t want students to allow themselves to become a victim.
“Don’t forget there might be time you have to fight,” Byrd said. “You can’t run, you can’t hide, don’t freeze. Fight if that’s your instinct, you are operating under ‘I just need a minute or two before law enforcement gets there.’”