The Feb. 14 shooting at Stoneman Douglass High School in Parkland, Fla., where a semi-automatic-toting 19-year-old killed 17 people, prompted Oak Park and River Forest High School principal Nathaniel Rouse to release a statement outlining a range of safety protocols the high school has in place in the event of an emergency — a gesture that has been repeated in school districts across the country.
Rouse said that there is a school resource officer (SRO), who is a member of the Oak Park Police Department, working at the school each day during school hours. In addition, each student is assigned a Pupil Support Services team — which includes a counselor, a student intervention director and a social worker — that does regular check-ins with troubled students, whose social media “feedback” is also monitored and reviewed.
The school’s emergency response plans, Rouse added, can be seen in each classroom and office. The plan includes directions for evacuating the building and safely complying with various protocols, such as hard and soft lockdowns, in case of emergencies.
In the event of an active shooter, the campus would “immediately go on hard lockdown, with all movement throughout the building ceasing and everyone remaining in place in locked classrooms and workspaces,” Rouse explained.
The principal also stressed that all classrooms have doors that shut automatically and lock by default, and that are typically locked during class periods. Those classrooms also have red backpacks that include 21 emergency supplies, such as flashlights, water, first aid kits and toilet paper.
And in the mornings, “students are permitted to enter the building only at three designated entrances, which are monitored by security staff. All other entrances are locked and require a swipe card for entrance.”
In order to enter the building during school hours, visitors are required to check in with security personnel at the main entrance desk and present ID cards that are then processed through an electronic database before they’re buzzed into the main lobby.
“Please know that in the event of an emergency, we are keenly aware of the worry and anxiety families are experiencing, and we will provide information as swiftly as possible, via robocall, email, and information on our website (oprfhs.org), Facebook page (oprfhuskies), and Twitter (@oprfhuskies),” Rouse wrote.