Source: Sherman Publications

Caution at Orion Schools

by Lance Farrell

December 26, 2012

It is difficult to be rational after violence strikes our children as it did at Sandy Hook Elementary School.

But despite the fog of fear that has crept into our Michigan homes and schools, Lake Orion School officials have taken steps to be prepared in the event of an emergency.

Orion schools rehearse lock-down procedures twice a year to teach staff and students how to react. This education was augmented on Dec. 18 when Superintendent Marion Ginopolis hosted SWAT Team professionals, deputies from the Oakland County Sheriff’s Department, and officials from Homeland Security Division. These law enforcement professionals conducted an intensive ‘Active Shooter Seminar’ with Orion school administrators and security staff, providing guidance and lockdown protocols for any unwelcome event.

As the school reviews its security procedures this week, the district will keep school entrance doors locked during the school day. Lake Orion High School will continue to rely on security personnel stationed at the entrance to screen visitors. Anyone who would like access to Orion schools should have photo identification and an explanation ready. Visitors must also sign in before entering school buildings.

Prearranged entry for parents volunteers will be honored, but anyone without prior permission should refrain from visiting schools so that staff can keep their attention focused on students. Parents are encouraged to attend their children’s holiday parties this week, but will undergo the same screening process.

These measures will be revisited once the security review is completed, and are not the product of any real or perceived threat. These measures are being taken to “alleviate concerns while we study the best course of action,” said Ginopolis.

Because sorrow and anxiety can arise when talking about the Connecticut school shooting, Ginopolis has instructed school staff to avoid broaching the subject as it is best left to families to discuss. However, Orion has many counselors standing by to provide additional support to families who may need to talk.

Above all, Ginopolis promised, “please know that my top priority is the safety of our children and staff and I will do whatever necessary to ensure that we are doing everything we possibly can to protect them.”