Features — 16 December 2015
Features: Administration looks to protect staff, students

Ten people were left dead, including the gunman, while nine were injured during a school shooting on Oct. 5 at Umpqua Community College in Roseburg, Ore.

Statements like this seem to appear on the television screen more and more lately. With these recent uprising of mass shootings, it has become a concern for some in USD 323.

“[Mass shootings are an] incomprehensible loss of life that ruins the lives of families on both sides of the tragedy,” principal Eric Koppes said.

If there was a situation at Rock Creek, the procedure for the staff and the students seems simple. Once administrators would know there was a shooter in the building, they would announce over the intercom that the school was under a lockdown. The teachers would then shut the doors to their own classrooms, and everyone inside would then hide out of sight with the lights off.

This procedure is practiced with a lockdown drill every semester at Rock Creek, but it is not yet required by the state.

“I think the drills are good for us because then we’ll know what to do if a school shooting were to happen,” freshman Alyssa McCormack said.

What is being done to prevent these shootings? That’s a hard code to crack.

At Rock Creek, though, assistant principal Scott Harshbarger said, “We are looking into more video surveillance.”

In addition to adding more surveillance, Rock Creek has also discussed placing a one-way film over the windows certain classrooms with outside doors, so that students and teachers could stay out of sight easier. Teachers also talked about using tables and desks to bar doors shut. Also in the works is the possibility of a vestibule being added to the school, along with a window to the front office.

“We could potentially lock the doors and have a camera set up and be able to see what or who is coming and when,” secretary Nicole Borth said.

If a school shooting were to occur, special education teacher Tori Sieben said, “I would make sure that my students are safe before anything else, even if that meant I was not going to be safe.”

On the other hand, junior Jacob Lutgen said, “With a school shooting, it’s most likely going to be a student doing the shooting, so they would know our procedures.”

With these procedures set, one can hope that Rock Creek will never have to use them and experience the tragedy like the one in Roseburg, Ore.

Article and photo by Brynn Hammett, yearbook editor in chief

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