Trust in School Security

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Corbin Reardon, Staff Reporter

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By: Corbin Reardon/ Staff Reporter

How our school protects and preserves an educational environment

A bomb threat on Sept. 6 put the school into a safety protocol called shelter-in-place. This very recent threat has let many students wonder about the safety methods that are in place to protect students during school hours.
One of the major concerns of students is that – if it was a bomb threat, why was the school not evacuated? The lack of evacuation was mostly due to the fact that school security and the Florissant Police Department did not believe this to be a credible threat due to the lack of details, and other information not adding up or making sense.
The threat was presumed to be a hoax due to information school security and the Florissant Police had, which is why they searched the school while students were following the shelter-in-place protocol rather than evacuation.
“If we thought the threat was credible, it would have been treated differently and the building would have been evacuated,” head of security Rich King said.
This incident has raised certain questions about the school’s safety protocols. The two major procedures that deal with hostile individuals or specific threats are the shelter-in-place and lockdown. They’re used for various different things.
Lockdown is initiated when there is a serious threat of an armed or aggressive individual on school grounds. The lockdown protocol effectively stops any teaching that is going on whereas the shelter-in-place protocol is usually initiated when there is an unclear concern that there is a possibility of a threat somewhere on the premises. This drill allows an environment where teaching can continue, while authorities investigate the concern. Both drills are focused on student safety. One is just a more elevated implementation of the other.
With these existing security measures, there are no plans to expand physical security policies. The implementation of metal detectors or bag searches is essentially out of the question according to Mr. King. Metal detectors are a largely slow and inefficient way of making sure a school environment is safe, and drastically reduces the positive environment that schools are supposed to have. While these more imposing security measures are not going to be implemented any time soon, there has been additional security cameras installed throughout the school.
“There hasn’t really been anything at the school or in the district to warrant searching every student,” said Florissant Police Department officer Lee.
A false threat, as such was the cause of the shelter-in-place procedure being implemented, are not entirely unique or rare. However, they are serious felonious offenses. These types of threats have been issued in the past.
Just threatening an action like this is a felony offense, capable of being charged with “making a terrorist threat.” These threats are taken very seriously and are a serious offense that could ruin young people’s future. As such, these threats are all being actively investigated by the Florissant Police Department.
“If we find out who did this, they would be prosecuted to the fullest extent of the law,” said Dr. Hopper.