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The student news site of Hollis Brookline High School

The CavChron

The student news site of Hollis Brookline High School

The CavChron

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Avoid, Deny, Defend

Officer+Hooper+is+standing+next+to+student+Bradley+Noble+%E2%80%9824+ensuring+the+safety+of+the+staff+and+students+here+at+HB.+Officer+Hooper+is+a+new+SRO+but+is+always+willing+to+help+students+to+talk+about+school+safety.
Miguel Avalos
Officer Hooper is standing next to student Bradley Noble ‘24 ensuring the safety of the staff and students here at HB. Officer Hooper is a new SRO but is always willing to help students to talk about school safety.

Ever since elementary school, current students have had to practice lockdown drills and fire evacuations in school. But throughout the years, things have changed with past threats that have occurred. Now instead of only locking down during a school threat, the new protocol is to avoid, defend and attack. Avoid means to leave the building if possible and run to safety. If you can’t leave lockdown and hide, deny means to deny access to you and your location. Lastly, defend (fight) is a last resort safeguard, a right and an opportunity to guard against life-threatening action.

This new system is not a new concept to have a more dynamic response to an active threat. In order for students to be prepared and ready for any situation, teachers first have to be trained and run through simulations to help them move kids to safety or to keep them safe in case of an active threat. “I think that the idea of rehearsing in your head, of potential scenarios, increases the likelihood that in the moment you’re not going to freeze. This is to help people prepare for a potential situation that if you’re not prepared for, a lack of decision making could impact your safety,” said HBHS Principal Tim Girzone. Along with practicing and preparing for these kinds of situations, there are more safety precautions that the school takes in order to be more prepared. The school is always adding more safety precautions/features year in and year out including this year’s newest addition to all doors. “They make these things called a Nightlock. There is a mechanism that there is a plate on the bottom of the door and there is a hole on the floor and it’s basically like a cleat and it secures the door both ways. It’s another layer of security,” said Girzone. 

Another level of security that the school has is School Resource Officer (SRO) Hooper. Although he is not at HB all the time, he still has responsibilities in case something were to happen in his presence. “If I’m here I will get out and meet with Mr. Girzone in the front but they do all of the attendance and track everybody and each one of them have certain areas that they sweep to make sure everyone is out,” said Hooper. With this being said, Officer Hooper could be called down to the middle school, the primary school or down on the road at any point and time of the school day. In case of any active threat to the school, Hooper would be the one to take charge. “ I would just take over the law enforcement side which would be mitigating whatever the threat was. There is a whole system that we have with Fire and EMS, everyone is included into this but the school is the one that would get you guys where you needed to be,” said Hooper.

Lastly, with Avoid, Deny, Defend being a new system to the school, time will be necessary to adjust to the added procedure will. “I think it will take some adjusting and getting used to for our students and staff so the time and the training we are putting in training people is necessary and valuable,” said Assistant Principal Yolanda Flamino. It takes more than just training staff and students to help learn this system much quicker and making it be efficient for everyone. “We did devote some very specific training to it starting last year and covering what it is and what it looks like and how to implement it. We took some professional development days to practice some scenarios and the thought behind that was to educate staff and then they can help educate students and we plan on doing the same with students in walking them through the drill and what it is and how it would play out in different scenarios and recreating a few things and also we are making some safely videos that will be watched by the entire student body,” said Flamino.  It takes a lot of time for these kinds of systems to get into place and be properly learned but the school is doing a great job at getting it out to their students and staff.

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About the Contributor
Miguel Avalos, Staff Writer
Miguel Avalos ‘24 is a first year journalism student at Hollis Brookline High School. He enjoys playing soccer and football for the highschool. He is also the co-president of the transfer mentor group. In his free time he enjoys spending time with friends, family, and spending time at the fire department. He is planning on attending Lakes Region Community college and getting his associates degree in Fire Science and joining the fire department when he turns 18.

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