The Knox Community School Corporation is looking at a few ways to boost school safety. Superintendent Dr. William Reichhart told the school board Tuesday he’s looking at adding a school resource officer.
“I know that other school districts that have them have been using them very productively,” he said, “not just in a school crisis, but also establishing relationships between school resource officers, police officers, and students, and building up that relationship.”
Reichhart said he doesn’t know what the cost would be yet. But he’s been discussing the idea with Starke County Sheriff Bill Dulin, and he plans to seek input from his administrative team.
He added that panic buttons will be installed this summer in each school’s main office. Reichhart also thinks there’s a possibility that the school corporation could get its own police radio, “Where instead of having to call 911, we can just simply hit the radio and go right to dispatch to save time. . . . Time is the essence, in terms of saving lives in a crisis.” He added that Sheriff Dulin, Knox Police Chief Harold Smith, and Knox-Center Township Fire Chief Kenny Pfost have all been tremendous in their support.
Reichhart’s comments came during a 15-minute presentation on the corporation’s school safety plan by Middle School Assistant Principal Michelle Tarnow and High School Assistant Principal Jake Skelly. They explained that they’ve been revamping the safety plan for the past year.
Among other improvements, they’ve created a quick reference guide for staff to use during emergencies. Tarnow added that Knox Boxes have been installed outside each building. They contain fobs and keys, to allow first responders to access any area of that building during an emergency.
A big goal of the safety committee going forward is to increase its communication with teachers. They hope to discuss safety during professional development days, not only at the start of the school year. Similarly, they want to share more information with parents, so they know what to expect before a crisis happens.