UPDATE TO Principal Rouse's parent letter regarding new building security measures

February 7, 2013

Update as of Friday, February 8: Entrance doors have changed due to student feedback. Student Council President Steven Piper and Board Representative Lauren Richardson took a poll on Facebook. As a result, the Erie Street Entrance (by the daycare, on the north end of the building) will be the third student entrance to the building. Of the students who voted, 90% chose the Erie Street Entrance over the Driver’s Ed Entrance. A special thank you to Student Council and to those students who voted.

To recap, in order to access the building beginning Monday, February 11, students have three options:

  • Main Entrance on Scoville Avenue--all students; those without ID must enter here
  • South Mall Entrance--only for students with ID
  • Erie Street Entrance (north end of the building)--only for students with ID

The letter below was mailed home to families this week.

Dear OPRFHS Families:

Given the increased concerns about school safety throughout the country, OPRFHS staff has been reviewing the ways in which we might enhance the security of our building. Based on this review, we are implementing a variety of measures to better protect the safety of students, staff, and visitors. Detailed below are the changes that will affect students as they move about the building throughout the day. These measures will become effective Monday, February 11, 2013. We will be communicating these changes to students, but please be sure to review them with your student.

During the afternoon of February 12, we will conduct a HARD LOCKDOWN DRILL in collaboration with the Oak Park Police Department. Prior to the drill, we will review with faculty, staff, and students the procedures to follow. Police will be present to review the drill and provide feedback on any improvements to be made. Please double-check that your student is aware of the drill, to avoid creating any unnecessary panic when it occurs.

Among the enhanced security procedures we are implementing are the following, broken down by time of day:

Before School:

  • Between 7:00 to 8:00 a.m., students may enter the building through only three entrances: Main Entrance (on Scoville Avenue), Exit #3 (Near 1 East Gym on Scoville Ave), and Exit #10 (South Mall Entrance). All other entrances will remain locked.
  • The Main Entrance on Scoville Avenue will be open from 7:00 a.m. – 9:00 p.m. during school days, with security present during those times. Exit #3 and Exit #10 will be unlocked from 7:00– 8:00 a.m. on normal school days and at 9:30 –9:45 a.m. on Late Arrival Wednesdays.
  • Students need their student IDs on and visible to enter the building. Any student who does not have an ID who attempts to enter either Exit #3 (Near 1 East Gym on Scoville Ave) or Exit #10 (South Mall Entrance) will not be permitted to enter the building and must go around to the Main Entrance. All three exits will be monitored by our Safety and Support staff.
  • At the Main Entrance, students without an ID will be directed to the Ticket Booth to obtain temporary ID prior to being allowed access to the building.
  • Extra staff will monitor the hallways and escort anyone loitering down to the first-floor Student Activities area.
  • Students visiting the Tutoring Center, Huskie Hub, meetings in classrooms, counselors, resource managers, or deans of students will need a pass to leave those areas prior to 7:50 a.m. (9:35 a.m. on Late Arrival Wednesdays).

During the Day/Lunch Periods:

  • Students who set off door alarms and leave the building will be issued a day of in-school suspension and restricted lunch. We recognize that this consequence may seem extreme. However, the goal is to change a culture in which students too frequently leave the building without permission. The school is responsible for students’ whereabouts throughout the day, and we believe that this new procedure is necessary to create a safer environment.
  • Students who are in the cafeteria or Student Center during a lunch period that is not theirs will lose their lunch privileges and be required to scan into restricted lunch (Room 434). Students who are scheduled for but not signed into restricted lunch and who are found elsewhere in the building will be given additional consequences. Repeat offenders will be given a day of in-school suspension.

3:30 p.m. - 5:00 p.m.
Students will not be permitted to loiter in the hallways or corridors unsupervised. Students may go to teacher classrooms, the North Cafeteria, Tutoring Center, or club or activity locations only.

5:00 p.m. and Beyond
Students will be able to access classrooms, hallways, or academic areas only with an escort from the security staff.

Thank you for your help and cooperation in protecting the safety and well-being of all those in our building. I know that these changes are coming in the middle of the winter, when walking around the building may seem inconvenient, but the safety of our students, faculty, and staff takes precedence. Please consider the adjustments needed to ensure that your student(s) are able to arrive to school in time for their first period class as we transition to a more safe and secure campus. As always, should you have any questions or concerns, please do not hesitate to contact me.
 

Sincerely,

Nathaniel Rouse
Principal