Greetings to my CFSA colleagues. As an administrator and principal for almost 25 years before retiring, my greatest concern was violence in schools. The recent incidents over the past few years weigh heavy on my mind. I can vividly remember my routine upon awakening every morning preparing to start my day. I would sit up on the edge of my bed and think about the day and say a prayer that no acts of violence would invade my building. Unfortunately, my prayers were not always answered but I continually thanked The Lord for giving another day and for the strength to my job to the best of my abilities.
The bottom line in regards to violence in our schools, there is no absolute policy, plan of action or preventive measures that will stop these senseless acts of violence from taking place – none! However, we can make sure that we plan for the worse and hope for the best.
Here are a few things I implemented in my buildings as a principal, many of you have them already in action and for that I applaud you.
- Morning arrival, lunchtime and dismissals are and were my priority times to blanket my halls and entrance and exit areas with staff.
- During arrival time for staff and students, none of my administrative team was expected to be in their offices, instead I had them roaming their assigned areas and I emphasize roaming! My teachers were at their doors and not sitting at their desks or putting plans, assignments, etc. on the board. My security team was also at designated areas with radios. I was frequently observed monitoring the buses as they arrived or walking throughout the building until the beginning of homeroom or 1st period/mod.
- During dismissal, my administrative team were either roaming the halls or outside monitoring the boarding and dismissal of buses. Because my office was right outside the dismissal area, that is where I could be found with my radio. Security had assigned areas in the halls and outside near the entrance to the school and/or bus area.
- At lunchtime, administrators, teachers and security would have specific duties mainly in the cafeteria area bur also in the halls. Again, I was a frequent visitor in the cafeteria monitoring but also taking the time to chat with students and sit with some of them when the opportunity availed.
- Between periods/mods, I expected all staff, security and administrators to either stand their doors welcoming students to their classes or to roam/clear the floors before the tardy bell and handling students who were tardy to class.
- All visitors had to enter through the main office, state their purpose for visiting and were provided a visitor’s pass. A call was made to the person or department they were visiting before sending them on their way.
Please note: as I visit many schools in my capacity as an officer for CFSA, I have noticed many of these security measures in place. I just want to reiterate them because I made sure my staff adhered to them religiously each and every day school was in session. I hope this information is helpful and I welcome any suggestions that you the members of CFSA have that I would gladly pass on to your colleagues.
Let’s say a collective prayer for the Milford community and let them know that they remain dearly in our thoughts and prayers.