OHS administrators have new security protocols being put in place starting Friday, May 6. On April 15, a bomb threat caused OHS to be evacuated. Since then, security has been on most students’ minds. However, the threats did not cease.
After additional threats were found, Principal Mark Randall commented on the new security measures being implemented by saying, “There have been several instances throughout the year, and it was a culmination of lots of different things that really happened.” Principal Randall went on to say, “There were also some writings on the bathroom walls that led us to make some decisions that we didn’t want to have to make, but we had to.” While student body push back is expected ,these changes are for the safety of the students.
OHS had been operating normally since the April 15 threat, and no new measures had been implemented. While Randall states that it was a “culmination of lots of different things,” a threat found by a staff member recently forced his hand, putting these measures in place. The school has put out an official statement that will be addressed in classrooms on Friday, May 6. An email was sent to parents on Thursday evening with the same information.
“A threatening message was found inside a restroom at OHS by a staff member. The message states, ‘The high school will be destroyed on May 12.’ After consulting with law enforcement and school personnel, we believe the school is safe and secure. However, disruptive actions like this require school personnel to take measures to ensure high levels of safety and security for our school. Disruptive actions to the educational process like this will not be tolerated at OHS. We ask that any student with information leading us to the person or persons responsible report this information immediately to school administration or law enforcement. Consequences for such behavior may lead to expulsion from school and to a criminal investigation by law enforcement.”
Recent events have caused changes for the student body and faculty. Staff were informed at a mandatory meeting on Thursday.
Some changes being made at OHS include:
Any type of bag, hat or coat will be searched upon entry of the building, including purses
All bags, hats and coats must be stored in lockers
Students are allowed standard pencil pouches to take with them from class to class
Entrances to the school are limited to the Grove Avenue entrance and the School Street doors
Students with medical needs will be allowed to carry small bags if tagged and cleared by Anna Durst
Students will need to sign in and out when leaving class
Police presence will be larger
Surveillance will be increased
While several of these will prove to be inconveniences for both students and staff of OHS, safety is the number one priority on administrators’ minds. If necessary, accommodations will be granted. The letter states, “If a student has a concern that would warrant an accommodation, please have them check in with Anna Durst in the Nurse’s office. All accommodations will need to be approved by administration.”
The first change will be students signing in and out to leave the classrooms. This will take effect on Friday morning after an official statement.
Many students are concerned with locker usage as most students rely on backpacks to go throughout OHS. Second hour teachers will have locker information for students. Students should check their lockers on Friday before the “bag policy” starts on Monday.
Additional supervision will be added to the building. Staff has been asked to be more visible and vigilant in the halls. Teachers have been assigned where to be at the beginning and the end of the day. Students that need to enter the building before 7:30 a.m. will need a teacher to escort them from the door to the classroom. That teacher will also conduct a bag search. For athletes coming in for an early morning practice, their coaches will conduct the search. The bag searches will be conducted by school personnel and members of the local law enforcement will step in if necessary. These searches will only be conducted during school hours. Extra security will not be extended into after school activities or events.