When it comes to school security, the main issue brought up at Rockford High School is the number of access points to the building. That includes both doors and windows.
Security officer Kelly Noordewier took FOX 17 on a tour of the first floor of Rockford High School.
Noordeweir says five security officers are on staff at any given time. Students and teachers also play a part in being vigilant around the school.
She says once school begins every door except the main entrance locks. Visitors must report to the office upon entering the building.
“If something does happen, well we know these doors are locked. They’re always supposed to be locked and the kids are trained,” Noordewier said.
“They are, the middle school age are instructed to even tell teachers ‘no.’ Teachers have keys, they’re not going to breach a point you already know is secure.
“Again, this is a school. You don’t want kids to be afraid to be here. You want them to feel secure but not feel like they’re in prison ever. So there’s that give and take on how far you go to secure a facility. Or can you go overboard? I think you can go overboard. Again now, boom another access point,” she points to a door.
“We’re radio commucation. We have phones,” she says the security staff is always in communcation.
“We know are customers, we know our families, we know our students and that’s a big thing and it’s being able to maybe figure out problems and head off a problem. You start at one point and maybe it doesn’t get to that other point.
“We’re very fortunate where Rockford I located. We’ve got the Kent County sheriff’s department. We have the Rockford police department. If something happens, it’s going to be a non-jurisdictional thing. if something happens in the city of Rockford, everybody’s going to be here. But we do that by knowing who our kids are. who our families are.
“Some of the scariest words for me is, “It’ll never happen here. Well those same people said the same thing. It’ll never happened here. You can not have that mindset and properly approach this job and secure facilities that way. It can happen anywhere.”
“There are people that are just evil. Now, to tell a little kindergartner that there’s evil people is aweful, but they just experienced that today too,” Nordewier says.
She also adds that Rockford Public Schools is fortunate to have a good working relationship with the Kent County Sheriffs Department and the Rockford Police Department.