RUSSELLVILLE (KTHV) - The Russellville School District hopes to add an extra layer of security by training more of its employees for emergency situations. Secretaries, from elementary to high school, recently received some pointers on everything from a weather disaster to an active shooter.
Donna Hendrix is one of two secretaries "manning" the front office at the Upper Elementary 5th Grade building in Russellville. Paging calls to students is part of her daily routine. School security is too, and that was recently enhanced for all district secretaries.
"He gave us real-time current events that we could learn from, the do's and the do-not's," Hendrix said.
The person giving the pointers was Brad Kent, an assistant principal and the district's Director of Safety and Security. Kent says that given where secretaries sit, in the front of the building, this training was a "no-brainer."
"Our secretaries are right in the trenches out front, they know everything that's going on in the school, they know who's here, they know who's not here," Kent said.
The training focused mainly on awareness and response, like when secretaries should call 911 and when they should alert staff. Hendrix said the training stressed calm and communication.
"Keeping the lines of communication open, if they're on the line, you keep that line open and you keep in contact with your staff," Hendrix said.
"I'm big in the belief that training and preparation means confidence," Kent said. "And that confidence is something that we all need with emergencies, school secretaries included."
Hendrix said part of the training included watching video of the recent case out of Georgia, where a school book-keeper helped persuade an armed suspect to surrender after a shooting. She said watching the interviews with the book-keeper was really helpful.
This recent training was mainly informational, but in the future, Kent hopes to do more active training programs.