RHS focuses on maintaining students safety

Following previous incidents, administration is taking steps to ensure safety and preparedness at school


Lillian Zieger

Math teacher Steven Durant is explaining to his sophomores that when performing the Counter in ALICE any objects that can be picked up and thrown are ideal.

With previous incidents occurring at and near RHS, the administrators are taking steps to be prepared for any situation to occur.
“You can never expect what is going to happen,” Principal Benjamin Reynolds said. “We are going through training with our students, we will talk about different scenarios.”
The main way that administration is going to provide safety and reassurance for staff and students is ALICE [Alert, Lockdown, Inform, Counter, and Evacuate].
“Our staff is trained in ALICE each fall,” Reynolds said. “In January, after break we are going to do some more staff and student training, as well as a parent night to inform everyone about the drill.”
To insure RHS’s safety, the drill is going to be practiced on a regular, just as if it was a fire or tornado drill.
“Just like anything, the more you practice these drills, the more your brain is going to know how to respond in the unfortunate situation if something were to happen,” ELA teacher Lela Blake said.
It is important for students to feel comfortable enough to report any concerns that they have.
“Students are the most important tool,” Reynolds said. “When the students come to us we may be able to prevent any problems, which is very very helpful.”
The main focus, other than safety, for performing these drills is going to be looking at the social and emotional well being of the students and staff, making sure that people feel ok.
“Making sure that students have a place to go if they need something, mostly that people being mentally healthy is going to be what keeps us safe,” Reynolds said.
Training and drills such as ALICE are going to benefit students and staff by helping them be prepared for different possibilities.
“The more well prepared we are for these different situations, the better we are going to respond if any situation were to happen,” Reynolds said.
If any situation were to occur, performing the proper procedures and responses necessary would be the first thing, along with communication.
“In the lockdown incident last week,” Blake said. “Staff and administration stayed in contact by email, and I called a couple people, but they did a very good job keeping the staff updated with what was going on.”
An unfortunate event occurred at RHS on Thursday, December 9, but the staff and students responded incredibly.
“I was one of the teachers outside in the hallway outside of the bathroom trying to kind of corral the boys away from each other,” Blake said.
The administrators looked at the individual situation that was going on and decided that the best decision was to put the school into immediate lockdown, and keep students secure in their classrooms.
“We worked closely with the police department as we addressed the situation,” Reynolds said. “We were able to very quickly realize that the student had fled the building, and within 15 minutes the police were able to apprehend the suspect. We still continued to go through the school and made sure to check every nook and cranny to make sure the situation was safe to call the lockdown off.”
Once the lockdown was called off many students had called their parents or guardians to be picked up, or some parents had wanted to pick their child up from school.
“We had plans in place,” Secretary to the principal Sheri Arminiack said. “Just in case anything like this ever were to happen. We organized rather quickly, we set up an extra table with two laptops at the front desk. So we had four ladys helping out. As parents came in, they just simply looked up their students’ names on MiStar, and we released them accordingly.”
Many people had stepped up during the incident and did what they knew needed to be done, this includes: Arminiak, Counseling secretary Jackie Doyle, building secretaries Christie Neal and Christa Gonzalez, attendance secretary Julie Bitsoli, and Mrs. Jonneal Petravicius.
“I think that we couldn’t have done anything better to tell you the truth,” Arminiak said. “From the moment we called 911 to the police getting here, locking down the school. It went just as it was supposed to go. We did what we were supposed to do.”
This incident will have an effect on staff, and students at RHS, whether that is being more aware of their surroundings, or even simply letting the administration know any information that may be important.
“Continuing to be aware, listen, and pay attention when things don’t feel right or sound right, and to go with that gut situation,” Blake said.
This incident also taught the administration that in a situation like this the staff and students’ response is very important to how the situation will play out.
“Our staff and students responded very well,” Reynolds said. “Students were respectful, followed directions, and [stayed] calm. Everybody was cool, calm, and collected. They all worked together, and it really made me realize how special the place we have here at Roosevelt is.”
Not very much is going to change for RHS, except drills are going to be practiced more. But, it is vital that if any students have any information they need to tell an adult in the building to help maintain everyone’s safety.
“You will never get in trouble for reporting something,” Reynolds said. “We actually encourage you to do so.”
RHS’s students, staff, administrators, and everyone who helped with the situation should be very proud of how they performed. The lockdown and events following the incident were carried out correctly and ensured everyone’s safety.
“Considering the situation I don’t know if it could have been handled any better than it was to be honest. Everyone did the best they could with what they knew,” Blake said.
These last couple of incidents should be taken as a learning experience for RHS. It taught everyone that drills such as ALICE need to be practiced on a regular basis, and that if anything were to happen again at Roosevelt that everyone will be prepared, can stay calm, and perform well in a serious situation.
“The number one job is ensuring staff and student safety,” Reynolds said. “We want to keep the kids safe. So we are taking this matter seriously, and are going to continue to tell our students to be safe, we need to communicate with each other, and we need to work together.”