RB modifies lockdown procedures


Clarion Staff

Chairs barricade the door during a lockdown drill.

Tyler Miller, Staff Reporter

After the rise of school shootings and active shooter situations, schools nationwide have had to take action to ensure the safety of staff and students. RB’s administration realized that the normal lock down drills were not secure enough and even the fire drills had safety flaws in them.

Between January and May of last year, there were 18 documented school shootings. Drills that had been practiced for years, such as the lock down drill consisting of teachers locking the door, closing the shades, and putting the students in the corner, were deemed to be one of the worst actions to take during an active shooter situation. Fire alarms do not allow students to leave the room right away. Instead, teachers need to be extremely cautious before stepping foot out of the classroom.

Students were informed at the beginning of the school year about the changes at an assembly. Staff also voiced the new rule on exiting the building if necessary during an active shooting, preferably running in a zig-zag pattern.

“We want kids to feel if there’s a situation that presents themselves and they’re maybe not in a classroom, they’re in a hallway or a bathroom, that they can get out, they can run. We’re not going to stop them. We’re going to tell them to go,” said RB Assistant Principal Dave Mannon.

Even at RB, a school with a security force and an armed police officer, the main reason for change was motivated by a 100% increase in the rise of school shootings, according to Mannon.

“We knew that we needed to change our routine and what we’re doing here to provide increased safety for our staff and students. We were actively investigating different procedures for the school,” said Mannon.

During the summer, administrators attended ALICE training. ALICE training — which stands for Alert, Lockdown, Inform, Counter, Evacuate — specializes in active shooter preparedness. During the two-day session, the administrators and staff members were able to become certified instructors of the program, which allowed them to bring a lot of the knowledge back to RB.  

In conjunction with ALICE skills, the school worked closely with local police and fire departments. A total of around fifty hours of work was put in between meeting with the staff, committees, and law enforcement agencies over the summer. Parents were also informed about the new procedures at Open House on August 29.

“We didn’t make that decision ourselves. We have had several meetings with the police department and the fire department. We all came up with this together,” said Mannon.

With the local law enforcement agencies on board, the school also took measures last year by hiring school liaison officer Lane Niemann, a 32-year veteran of the North Riverside Police Department. Niemann strongly supports the procedures the school has taken and can relate to such events because of his law enforcement background.

“I feel that with my law enforcement background, I can kind of merge the two things where you have administration and school staff, and law enforcement and we can kind of come to some common ground on how to go about things,” said Niemann.

All of the preparation and support for school has made most feel comfortable. No one has had any negative drawback so far concerning the procedures. Teachers feel that it is the right step to assure good overall safety.

“I have spoken with teachers from other districts and they have vocalized that they wish their school took safety as seriously as we do here at RB,” said RB teacher Melissa Carmona.

Only a few procedures have been implemented this year, the school does not want to implement too many so students become confused.

“We want to make sure we really have a good understanding of the implications and things we need to consider when implementing these two changes before we implement anything else,” said Principal Kristin Smetana.

The new changes and updated building have made all the difference to everyone in the community. Students have felt just as comfortable as the staff.

“For the fire drill, it does help to take precautions in case there is an intruder in the building,” said Sophomore E. V. Hervas.

Preparation and proactiveness has made RB a safer place for everyone. In the event that a school shooter or any other threat comes to the school, everyone will be prepared.