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RCSD focuses on school safety

BY SHARON BARDONNER - sbardonner@ftimes.com

Dr. Jim Hanna, superintendent of Rossville Consolidated School District, participated in an Active Shooter Training exercise in Mishawaka Monday as part of the district’s school safety initiatives.

Hanna described his experience to members of the RCSD school board Tuesday, noting that the training attendees could be involved as active participants, participants or observers. Participants played dodgeball in the Penn High School gym while waiting for the action to get underway – until the shooter actually came in, he said.

The training was meticulously designed by school officials and local responders in the St. Joseph County and Mishawaka area.

“It took them a year to put that program together,” Hanna said. During the scenario, law enforcement and EMS responders would move through the hallways with three officers at the front followed by three medics and a trailing officer.

“It was a good exercise,” said Hanna.

Also, last week Hanna met with Rene Crick, director of Clinton County Central Dispatch, to coordinate the agency’s access to RCSD’s nSide security camera system that provides responders with views throughout Rossville Elementary, Rossville Middle/High School and on the campus.

RCSD is the only district in the county currently using the system.

These types of security systems were developed after the school shooting at Sandy Hook Elementary in Newtown, Connecticut, in 2012, when 20 children and six staff members were killed.

In Hanna’s office in the Administration Building at 1 Robert Egly Dr. in Rossville is the control center for the schools’ nSide system, allowing the superintendent multiple views simultaneously. 

At the Clinton County Commissioners’ meeting Tuesday morning, Crick reported on sitting down with Hanna to discuss emergency response measures. Individuals from other responding agencies, such as the Sheriff’s Office, SWAT, Fire and EMS, also attended, she said.

“Access to the cameras they have is imperative if we have a crisis,” said Crick. “Dr. Hanna is very, very proactive. It was a good meeting.”

County-wide school safety meeting set

Hanna will spearhead a meeting of the Clinton County School Safety Commission Wednesday, July 25, at 10 a.m. in the Public Meeting Room at the Community Schools of Frankfort Education and Administration Building at 2400 E. Wabash St.

Dr. Steve McKinney is on the agenda to discuss nSide’s virtual layer mapping system, as is Kristy Chapman of the American Red Cross to outline the agency’s response to school incidents.

Hazardous materials will also be addressed, and each district will give an update on their school safety measures.