The safety of students at Henryetta schools took a major jump this week thanks to a federal grant.
That grant enabled school officials to contract with the police department for a school resource officer to be stationed at the school during most of the school hours.
“This is something we wanted to have last year and, after receiving this grant, we are able to pay for it,” said school superintendent Dwayne Noble.
The school will have an officer going from building to building seven hours a day. “He will have an office at the high school but will be making an appearance in all of the buildings,” HHS principal Kelly Furer explained. “This way he will be getting to know all of the kids and they will be able to visit and know him.”
The job will be split with several police officers who will be at the school on various days.
“Even though they will not be truant officers, we think this will help as well,” said Noble. He explained administrators often go to students’ homes to check on them and sometimes an extra person is helpful.
The addition of a police officer on the school grounds will also eliminate the discussion about teachers carrying firearms.
“A lot of schools are opting to let teachers carry weapons,” Noble said. “They are not trained for that purpose. Teachers are there to teach the students.” He said there are no plans or discussions currently about teachers carrying firearms.
Part of that grant money will be devoted to increasing the communications systems between the school buildings. “We want everyone to have immediate contact if a situation does arise.” Noble entry
Last year the school system upgraded surveillance cameras in all the buildings. Those cameras replaced equipment that was over a decade old and the optics provide much better views.
Also upgraded were the access points at the schools with specially keyed locks on the doors.
Furer pointed out the high school now has only two entry points for visitors and students. Those are located on the west side of the building and the front entrance off Troy Aikman Drive.
“We had a problem securing the back of the campus so now all students must enter or leave the building at that front door or west door,” Furer said.
After 8 a.m., all students much come to the front door only. She went on to say that parents coming to the building must come in through the front door and report immediately to the high school office.