SRO emphasizes school safety

A major incident has not occurred in the 18-year history of the school, and School Resource Officer Chuck Landmesser wants to keep it that way.

Landmesser has been concerned with safety rules and codes, and how they are being enforced. Most teachers, he said, are good about following the rules, but some ignore the safety codes, potentially jeopardizing the safety of those on campus.

“District Security is requesting that all schools lock their classroom doors once school has started for the day,”Landmesser said. “Also, teachers and students need to be made aware of anyone on campus who doesn’t have the proper credentials. We seem to have some issues with doors not being shut, and some treating it as an inconvenience when somebody goes in or out of class. We’re trying to get the mindset of, basically that safety is not an inconvenience, that we’d rather know who’s coming and going than possibly give somebody the opportunity to enter a classroom.”

Landmesser warned against complacency.

“People think that the probability of something happening here is remote, but my response to that is always that you never know when or where the next occurrence is going to be because we have these things happen every day,” he said. “Why wouldn’t you want a more secure campus. We just don’t want to be one of the communities that says ‘we never expected that to happen.’ We actually are going to be starting serious lock-down training with the faculty, so that they know what to do in that kind of situation.”

Biology teacher Angela Feldbush supports Landmesser’s initiative.

“I think that the safety policies are there to protect everybody,” she said. “It’s important that we try to follow them as best we can. I feel it’s important to keep the door locked because if something bad were to happen, I wouldn’t want it to be my fault if my kids weren’t safe. I think we’ve done everything we can to make ourselves safe. I don’t there is any place that is completely safe, but I think we’ve taken all the precautions we can, and we need to just hope for the best. I know it’s not convenient. Nobody wants to have to go to the door every time someone comes in and out, and it’s inconvenient to have it locked, but it’s less inconvenient than something bad happening.”

History teacher Thomas Mead said the school has a duty to keep its students safe.

I don’t think the school is susceptible to any danger right now,” he said. “I know there have been some incidents in the past, but so far, I’m confident there hasn’t been any reason for concern yet. I think that they’re just trying to be very safety conscious because the children here are the most important resource that we have, so I think that having a lot of rules is just going to be the way the school board works. Do I think they have too many, maybe, but I think that they are valid.”

Math teacher Steve Thomas pointed to another concern regarding school safety.

I think teachers letting students go to the bathroom whenever, and students being allowed to go in and out of class rooms all the time, undermines the safety and accountability of students. And so therefore, I would hope that they tighten up their procedures. I think Officer Landmesser’s priority being the SRO, is clearly the safety of everybody here on campus. So, I respect his views on the rules, and will take his advice and make sure that I am doing the very best I can to follow and enforce them, because overall, these policies are put in place for a very good reason, and that is to keep our most important resource safe — and that’s our students.”

By Sam Havkin