School safety has been a major concern due to mass shootings across America. High schools in Arkansas take necessary precautions with school safety, especially when a recent threat was made to schools across the state.
North Little Rock High School prioritizes safety to make sure students and staff remain protected.
“Safety is at the top of the NLRSD’s minds, it’s something thought about at all times,” said Dustin Barnes, Communications Coordinator at NLRSD.
“The North Little Rock School District maintains a relationship with the North Little Rock Police Department so that in the event of a crisis, the NLRSD has a direct line of communication to local law enforcement,” continued Barnes.
“Campus supervisors as well as Officer Montgomery and myself are working together to communicate a little more effectively than what we did last year. We’re trying to get a headstart on some of the issues we had last year to make things a little bit better,” says School Resource Officer Thomas.
According to NLRHS campus supervisor Roderick Romes, “There are 15 campus supervisors who are stationed around the campus including myself who monitor the cameras.”
Romes also informs the Blue and Gold Gazette that a week prior to the first day of school, the supervisors endure a variety of training, such as active shooter training and camera monitor training.
While a well-trained and qualified staff makes some feel safer, many have questioned whether or not the architecture of the building and its open glass windows might pose a security threat.
Senior Mikiya Rasul does not see an issue, “I feel safe in the building. If something were to happen the glass should not be a problem. I know that if -hopefully not, but if- something happens, there is an appropriate place for students to go and not be seen.”
However, there are other students and staff that feel otherwise.
Senior Alyia Dilliard says, “No, the windows are a flaw. If someone were to walk past and we are in a corner they would be able to see us.”
North Little Rock High School English teacher Christopher Harris says NLRHS met with architects before the building was constructed and communicated the school’s needs. “We stated explicitly that having such a large plate of glass could potentially put us at risk and minimize our possibility to hide from an intruder,” explains Harris.
Despite the perceived design flaw, our administration continues to ensure that staff and students are well-prepared in the event of a crisis by implementing drills regularly throughout the school year. There is an Emergency Response Plan in place and adjusted throughout the year for preciseness. Drills such as fire safety and walk through assessments are in place and upgraded as needed. Center of Excellence Assistant Principal Quintin Cain coordinates the drills which prepares our schools in the case of an emergency.
“Glass leaves you exposed, but you take what you have and develop a plan. The biggest thing is to have a plan. Drills are our plans we mark out in case things happen. I believe that it’s been very effective,” says Cain. “If we were to have an active shooter situation, things may not go as planned, but you do still have a plan in place or something to rely on. If it does happen, we can respond appropriately and do what we can to secure this building.”
“We have the best team, I’d say in the state. Our coordinator Mr. Williams has done an awesome job of keeping us in line,” says Campus Supervisor Reginald Reddus. “We do our best to make sure y’all are safe. That’s our main sole purpose.”
School Safety Coordinator Sandy Williams echoes this belief. “Every school is important, safety is important. Every person is safe,” says Williams.