Although safety procedures, secure entrances and school resource officers cannot guarantee that a tragedy similar to that at Robb Elementary will never occur at Cambridge, precautions are in place and drills are practiced to give students and staff with the tools and expertise to repel an attack. and protect themselves.
Each school district building is secured with self-locking doors that can only be opened from the outside by a key or key card. Staff members use their key cards/ID badges to enter buildings.
Those who do not have access should ring the doorbell at the school’s main entrance to be “warned” by staff members. Visitors are seen by staff members on video feeds and can communicate with staff members. The video feed is recorded for several days in case it is necessary to review who was at the door. Video is recorded 24 hours a day, 7 days a week.
Keeping intruders out of the building is the first line of defense. The second line of defense is to prevent intruders from entering classrooms.
The classroom doors have locks and have been fitted with door barricades, rigid plastic devices that slide over the bottom of the doors and are secured by pins that slide through holes in the floor.
About two years ago, the district purchased a two-way radio system that allows staff members in each building to talk to each other and the police department without using landlines or cell phones. They also feature a silencing signal that can be used to contact law enforcement in an emergency.
About 100 radios were purchased. All buses and maintenance vehicles now have a radio in addition to the transport office, secretaries in each building, directors and other staff.
The communication system was purchased with school safety grant funds and money from the district’s Continuous Improvement Fund.
While technology can provide tools that help protect children, the presence of law enforcement can be a deterrent and provide a level of leadership in a crisis situation.
At the start of last school year, Cambridge Schools added a second School Resource Officer (SRO).
The city secured a grant from the Community Based Policing Services or COPS Hiring Scheme which provided them with the funding to hire and post two police officers to Cambridge schools.
Officer Ben Harper was assigned to the school district in 2021. Harper, a Cambridge School District product, joins Ryan Oliver who was assigned to Cambridge Schools for several years.
Harper is based in middle school while Oliver is in high school. The two officers visit the other buildings in the school district.
Each district in Ohio is required to develop a detailed school safety plan with the cooperation of local law enforcement and other safety agencies.
The goals of a school safety plan are to ensure that staff members and members of response organizations know their responsibilities before a crisis and are comfortable working together.
In June 2022, Ohio implemented a law making it easier to train school employees to carry firearms to school. In the past, school districts had the ability to decide whether they wanted to arm employees and many districts, including Cambridge, have done so.
When a court ruling in 2019 required these employees to undergo almost 700 hours of firearms training to be legally allowed to carry firearms in school buildings, Cambridge was forced to stop the practice of security.
The new law significantly reduces the amount of training needed and still allows local school boards and school districts to decide whether they want to allow staff to carry firearms and how much training will be required.
The district also needs parents and students to participate in protecting their students. We ask that if you see anything that doesn’t seem appropriate or that concerns you, contact the building manager or your child’s teacher to share this information as soon as possible. Prevention is better than cure.
Submitted by Cambridge City School District