Dayton area schools prepare security measures in case of shooting situations

Local News

DAYTON, Ohio (WDTN) – After Sunday’s tragic shooting in the Oregon District, Dayton area schools are emphasizing the measures they have taken to protect students from possible mass shootings.

Governor Mike DeWine called for expanding the Sandy Hook Promise training program for schools.

DeWine stated 23 schools are scheduled to take part in the program. According to the Ohio Department of Education, Lebanon schools trained in June.

Other area districts have trained in the ALICE program (Alert, Lockdown, Inform, Counter, Evacuate). 

According to ALICE’s website: “Classes provide preparation and a plan for individuals and organizations on how to more proactively handle the threat of an aggressive intruder or active shooter event.

“Whether it is an attack by an individual person or by an international group of professionals intent on conveying a political message through violence, ALICE Training option based tactics have become the accepted response, versus the traditional “lockdown only” approach.”

In the WDTN.com Web Exclusive below, Tippecanoe Assistant Principal discusses his experience with the ALICE training:

The program has been used throughout the Miami Valley, including Dayton Public Schools, Kettering City Schools, and Tipp City Schools

Tippecanoe Middle School’s Assistant Principal Clay Lavercombe is one of the administrators who participated in the training this past June.

“One of the pieces is alert and inform,” said Lavercombe. “What do you see? What do you notice about the person? Getting that information out to people in your building, in your Wal-Mart, in your bar. What do you see happening that you can relay to get people safe.”

Tipp City school district’s Assistant Superintendent Steve Verhoff said the district has taken numerous steps to make students and staff safer. 

“Student and staff safety is our number one priority,” Verhoff said. “Given the climate we live in today, it takes even more precedent.” 

Some of these measures include installing window-securing Blast Film on exterior windows, expanded use of magnetic ID security cards, and a new Night Lock system that has been installed in Tipp City classrooms. 

In the WDTN.com Web Exclusive below, Clay Lavercombe explains how new cost-effective methods like Night Locks being installed help keep the students safe during a lock-down situation:

Dayton Public School’s Office of Safety and Security focuses on security measures needed to protect all the public schools in the district. 

This past April, the Office of Safety and Security’s Executive Director Richard Wright sat down for a video discussion on safety protocols with Dayon Superintendent Elizabeth Lolli. 

COURTESY: DAYTON PUBLIC SCHOOLS

Dayton schools currently have 35 ALICE-trained SRO’s that are distributed throughout Dayton schools. 

Wright said that he takes a number of factors into account when hiring SROs, including their background in security or as a former police officer.

“I also like to get the demographics of the area,” Wright said. “I look at the personality of the staff in the building, the building administrator. Then I pick the personality of the SRO’s that would work best in that building.”

Security Resource Officer (SRO) Chiquith Smith said that programs like ALICE empower those school officials who may feel unsure of how they would react in a tense situation. 

“This is a conversation that’s not comfortable, but it’s necessary,” Smith said. “We are living in a time where it is becoming more common for there to be some type of situation where this training is definitely necessary. It’s putting the power back in the people’s hand of saving your own life. This training will tell you exactly what to do when these problems arise.”

All Montgomery County schools are also using a program called Social Sentinel

“With Social Sentinel,” said Wright, “they oversee social media. Anything that is posted on social media, we have monikers, or abbreviations [for] anything dealing with name association. Say if the word ‘shoot’ comes across or ‘shootings’ or ‘gun’ it will actually pick up an alert. It’s a geographical area that they alert anything near the Dayton public schools area.”

We are living in a time where it is becoming more common for there to be some type of situation where this training is definitely necessary. It’s putting the power back in the people’s hand of saving your own life.

Wright said schools continue to expand the number of security cameras and metal detectors, and continued training throughout the school year. 

Wright and Smith agreed that “awareness” was the number one goal of their training. 

“Awareness for people to speak up,” Smith said. “You see something, you know something, say something. We cannot emphasize that enough.” 

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