School Safety a Priority at Heber Springs
The Heber Springs School District has taken some extraordinary steps to help ensure the safety of each child at their school. One facet of our school safety plan has been to limit the number of access points to our school. At the Middle School and High School our students must change buildings throughout the day. In the past, our buildings have been open to allow students to move freely. Each student in grades 6-12 will be given a proximity access card to allow them to go to their classes, yet at the same time, keep our buildings locked.
This will take some training but our students’ security will be worth it. With this system, parents will need to be granted access through video/audio control in the Middle and High School. This will be a huge change for those who are used to just walking into our schools. We know that you will appreciate these additional security measures.
We now have a team of Certified School Security Officers on campus. This is an additional layer of security above our school resources officers. This team has gone through a rigorous training this summer and must continue to train to maintain their certification. I am so proud of these members who are willing to place themselves in harm’s way for the safety of our children. The most important factor is that we do not want anyone thinking that our school is a “soft target.” You will see posted signs throughout the District that tell our community that we have an armed security force.
We have new fences around our playground, new video surveillance that gives us additional coverage of our campus and allows our police to be able to visually access our school if there is a threat. We are also working closely with the police, our SRO’s, and new security team to make sure we have all of the security protocols covered.
The use of electronic devices in our school will be greatly reduced. We have found that phones and other electronic devices have been used to bully and harass other students. We want all of our students free to learn and be safe at our school. There have been studies conducted that show that these electronic devices actually interfere with learning. Students will not be allowed to use their electronic devices during school hours. If you need to contact your child, you can still do so through the school offices. Please be considerate and know that the steps we are taking are to make our students safer and promote learning.
As always, we need you to help us. Please take the time to teach your child to report. At any point, if you see changes in your child’s behavior let us know. We have people who can help! If your child knows anyone that has been exhibiting threatening behavior, for the sake of all the children, please notify your school. Most acts of violence have warning signs and usually someone is aware of these threats. No threat should be taken lightly.
For the kids,
Dr. Alan Stauffacher