In response to the recent gun violence in Florida and Marshall County high schools, the first Safety Committee meeting was held at Manual on March 29. Principal Mayes and Asst. Principal Kuhn facilitated the meeting. A handout was distributed which included specific recommendations from a retired Secret Service Agent. The meeting attendees commented on these suggestions, and also made recommendations of their own.
Some of the ideas discussed included:
- Strobe lights, to alert people inside, and warn those outside, in an event a dangerous intruder has gained entrance to the school. This idea has been submitted for approval to JCPS by Mr. Mayes.
- Hiring SRO officers, an idea which Mr. Mayes and Mr. Kuhn agreed has fallen out of favor with schools, and also would cost Manual $40,000-$50,000 a year.
- Better training of teachers in the ALICE procedures, as well as focusing on methods individual teachers plan to use in response to an intruder.
- Offering self-defense classes through the school.
- Using service dogs trained to detect weapons in areas where students congregate.
- Applying bulletproof tint to exterior doors and windows.
- Installing more security cameras. Fourteen additional cameras have been ordered.
The Safety Committee packet also included the ALICE Procedures. They are:
Mr. Kuhn stated that while the steps are JCPS suggested responses to a dangerous intruder, the correct order (given with a detailed explanation) should be:
- Alert – if you see a dangerous intruder, contact the office immediately. In turn, the office will alert the campus immediately after learning of a dangerous intruder.
- Inform – when the office alerts the campus about a dangerous intruder, we will provide as much information as possible about him/her, especially the intruder’s location on campus.
- Evacuate – if possible, fleeing is of utmost importance! Use your best judgment based on what you learn about the intruder’s location; if possible, get out of the building and run away from the campus. Do not allow concerns about where you and your students will go interfere with getting off campus as fast as you can. Your first priority (if you are able) is to get out of the building and get far away.
- Lockdown – if you are unable to evacuate the building, lock your door/secure it from opening in any manner possible. If your door opens inward, lock it and barricade it with heavy furniture. If your door opens outward, lock it and tie it down with the most sturdy items available (belts, electric cords, computer cables, etc.) to prevent your door from being pulled opened. Turn out your lights; as much as possible, move people out of the proximity of the door.
- Counter – after your door is secured, have every person in your room grab items they can use to attack the intruder, should he/she make it inside your room. If the intruder enters your room despite your best efforts to keep him/her out, attack the intruder with any items available. Do your best to fight, subdue, and disarm the intruder; fight and do not remain passive. If you are able to disarm the intruder, place weapon(s) under an overturned garbage can far from him/her. Once the intruder is disarmed/disabled, call for help immediately.
Mr. Kuhn also stated that the times students are gathered or moving as a group are when Manual is most vulnerable. These circumstances routinely occur during morning wait-time before school, lunches, and transition between classes. He suggested that Manual’s best precaution against school violence during these times might be increased monitoring. His father, Cliff Kuhn, has proposed creating a volunteer group made up of parents and grandparents, to monitor the halls and courtyard during these vulnerable periods. This proposal is still in an early stage—volunteer expectations and training have not been decided yet—but if you are interested in becoming involved with this group, please email Mr. Kuhn, Sr.