Rector School District Staff Learns Safety Measures

Friday, March 23, 2018
RFD and Rescue Task Force member Justin Jackson instructs staff on donning latex gloves during the Rector Schools safety training.
TD photo/Jane Gatewood

School safety continues to be a “hot button” issue nationwide. In response, the Rector School District dismissed classes early on Friday, March 9, to provide school personnel with current and updated information regarding local procedures.

The faculties at Rector Elementary School and Rector High School operate with a strong and balanced violence prevention and intervention philosophy. A positive school climate along with a respectful, well-disciplined student body play crucial roles in keeping schools safe.

In an article previously published in this paper regarding the Rector DARE program, now a component of the local sixth-grade curriculum, Clay County Sheriff’s Deputy Michael Beasley explained how open communication and healthy respect among all students and school personnel as well as law enforcement assists in promoting safe schools. He emphasized the anti-bullying initiatives at work in schools as well.

In addition, Beasley also reported RES is moving toward being a pass key entry/access facility. Anthony Dowdy, RES principal, expects the work to be completed on the locking system for all doorways within the next few weeks.

The system has locks which are time-activated, but may be opened with a pass key by teachers and other staff members. Normally, the locks open shortly before classes dismiss then lock again a short time after the next class convenes. For safety sake, they may be opened from the inside at any time by way of an override button.

At the workshop on March 9, lock down procedures for all Rector schools were reviewed and updated. Teachers were reminded of what to do, how to respond and how to teach their students what to do if an occasion that would jeopardize them were to arise on campus. Officials outlined procedures to follow should students be in classrooms, outdoors, hallways or the cafeteria should an incident occur.

Teachers are in the process of instructing their students in age-appropriate methods regarding school and individual safety. Should an incident such as an abduction or a shooting take place anywhere on campus, students should know what to do, being led by their teacher in the correct response.

Mark Vavak, with the Arkansas State Police, served as the main presenter for the seminar on lock down procedures. Also present were county deputies, local police officers, EMTs and nurses. Rector Fire Chief Huston Bowden, EMT specialist, also presented a hands-on training entitled “Stop the Bleeding.”

Officials noted parents can also assist in keeping schools safe. They note educators and law enforcement leaders encourage parents to exercise responsibility to inspect children’s rooms, phones, back packs and know their frequent associates. They encourage parents to talk to, and listen to, children about issues related to school and community safety.

“The School District appreciates the ongoing support and positive working relationship with all law enforcement and medical personnel,” Rector School District Superintendent Johnny Fowler said.

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