A District Security Personnel’s Perspective
Since schools are temporarily closed in Colorado due to the spread of COVID-19, I’m thinking back to my career in K-12 public schools and what I can do with extra time on my hands. During the school year, I remember being very busy with day-to-day things that would come up and feeling like the things that were important were being buried under the urgencies of the day. As a year-round employee, I remember looking forward to Summer Break, or even the brief respite of Winter Break that allowed me to do things I knew were important.
So now, with time on my hands, unable to go to the office each day, what do I do to continue working on our district’s safety? I’m getting paid, I have a job, and I have some short, medium, and long-term goals I’ve been trying to make time for – what a great opportunity! Should I spend a little extra time forming my persuasive arguments for that grant request that would give me the resources to move a project forward? Yes, a resounding yes! After all, chances of getting limited school district funds allocated to this school safety project are slim, there are simply too many other priorities competing for the funds. Now that I have some alone time without the latest mini-crisis erupting at one of my schools, I can do some research, gather my thoughts, and make my best case why my district is deserving of these funds.
Could I also spend some time re-visiting the FEMA online safety courses I last took four years ago? Yes! I’m guessing they have been updated since I last took the course and I have the opportunity to follow the links to learn more. I am finally able to delve more deeply into these topics that might make a difference and will certainly make me more informed, perhaps even leading to better decisions the next time our district crisis team comes together to deal with any crisis: the broken water main, the science room mishap that became a HAZMAT release, the latest bomb threat, or the 100 white mice released at the high school as the Senior Prank of the year.
When was the last time I checked to be sure I had the right names and numbers in the Crisis Plan for the health department, or the disaster recovery company? I’ve got a little time, why not look it up, make a few calls, and be more prepared to call the indoor air quality firm to do air testing the next time a student spills a jar of mercury he found in his grandfather’s garage in the middle of the cafeteria at lunchtime? I can’t remember the last time I chatted with the SRO sergeant; I wonder how she’s doing?
Yes, even though I’m at home for the next few weeks with this social distancing, there’s still plenty of work I could get done. My binge watching of Better Call Saul can wait, I’ve got some work to do.