Out With The Old: New Protocol Promotes Student Safety

Skutt Catholic’s new evacuation policy to be implemented by 2018

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Photo by Natalie Pearson

The main entryway to Skutt Catholic.

Natalie Pearson, Staff Reporter

Though they might not be a major part of day-to-day activities, evacuation drills are an important asset in keeping students safe and prepared in the event of an emergency. Skutt Catholic has recently begun to introduce a new program with this exact intent of putting student safety first.

A possible reason for the sudden change might be because some students have expressed concerns about the way current evacuation drills operate—namely, sophomore Anna Pappas.

“Fire drills should not be occurring the way they are now,” said Pappas. “I believe the procedures in terms of where people go are fine, but things need to change in other areas. Because the teachers don’t lead, the students amble out the doors at their own pace while talking amongst themselves at their own volume,” Pappas continued. “The staff needs to execute [drills] with control and purpose.”

There are hopes that an updated system will quell some of these concerns and evacuate everyone in a safe and organized manner.

Assistant Principal Mr. Michael Bailey gave some insights as to what this new program actually is. “We’ve already begun implementing a new system; it’s called ‘Standard Response Protocol,’” said Bailey. “Standard Response Protocol is being used by about 3000 schools across the country, including Millard Public Schools and Bellevue Public Schools,” Bailey continued.

Standard Response Protocol handles four different types of threats that can happen in a school: an evacuation event, such as a fire; a shelter event, like a tornado; and two separate but similar events where there is a lockout (when there is a threat outside the building) or a lockdown (when there is a threat inside the building).

Bailey also spoke about additional things that the school has added to improve safety, or plans to add in the future. “Some big things that we’ve added, just in the last 18 months—we’ve got both our external and internal surveillance cameras, which have proven to be very effective and have helped us a ton,” said Bailey. “But there’s still a few areas of the building that we would like to make some additional ability to monitor. And we actually have some of those things in the works right now, but hopefully they’re going to get knocked out before Christmas break time,” continued Bailey.

Faculty members will coordinate and plan with each other to make sure the student body evacuates as fast as possible, just as they have done in the past. The Standard Response Protocol is most likely going to be a huge help during drills, as well.

“We have a set plan that is posted clearly in all classrooms,” said teacher Mr. Will Wright. “All teachers understand this plan because we go over it at the beginning of each year. Coordination between teachers happens on the fly. We all understand that getting students out of the building is a priority. We work together and do everything that we can do support each other in this moment,” Wright said.

As December and Christmas break approaches, safety is a top priority for administrators at Skutt Catholic. These changes will improve security and well-being at the school immensely for the 2018-19 school year.

Natalie Pearson

Natalie became a member of the Flightline in August of 2017. She is a junior this year, involved in band. Outside of school, she enjoys watching movies and playing video games. You can email her at [email protected]