Stand up for School Safety

Protecting our schools and campuses

RAPID CITY, S.D. – This past year, school safety has been a major discussion throughout the country. Parents and students have been on high alert since recent school shootings, such as the one in Parkland, Florida that left 17 dead.

It is important to know what local schools and campuses are doing to ensure the safety of students and faculty.

Philip Pescheck, the director of public safety at Black Hills State University (BHSU), gave insight on his campus’s protocols.

“We work hard, we keep our vigilance up and we try to stay one step ahead of any problem or trouble.”

At BHSU, firearms are restricted. Students cannot carry a firearm on campus, but they can choose to either keep the weapon locked and hidden in a car or keep it at the Public Safety Office. At the Public Safety Office, they can sign the firearm in and out. Knives are allowed on campus as long as the blade is 5 inches or shorter.

South Dakota is a concealed carry state and many students at BHSU hunt. The rules in place keep students safe without completely eliminating their freedom to go hunting.

The Department of Public Safety on campus is made up of former law enforcement officers who are thoroughly trained to maintain a safe environment. In addition to campus security, the department also provides presentations on self-defense and situational awareness.

Whether you or your child attend school or participate in activities on school grounds, safety is a priority.

Lt. Brian Blenner, the head of juvenile operations at Rapid City Police Department (RCPD), spoke on precautions Rapid City takes to protect area schools.

Blenner says that they have law enforcement liaisons at the school who provide security and build bonds with the students and faculty. Bonds are important because it allows students to feel safe, while also giving officers valuable information.

In regard to emergency and safety training, RCPD says “every student is taught how to be safe in class. Sometimes the teacher teaches it to them and gives them the safety measures, then we drill.”

Over in Box Elder, Superintendent of the Douglas School District Alan Kerr explains that school is actually one of the safest places people can be. He says there is less violence in schools than there is in other public places.

Both Rapid City schools and Box Elder area schools provide ALICE training. ALICE is an active shooter response training that incorporates staff and students. The program provides drills and techniques, such as barricading.

Learn more about standing up for school safety.


Categories: Local News, South Dakota News