New RCS safety regulations

Maddy Williams and Lexie Shumate

With school shootings increasing rapidly throughout the country, Rutherford County Schools has decided to take action to ensure student safety.  

“Rutherford County Schools takes the safety of students, faculty, and staff in the most serious manner.  We believe that if these stakeholders do not feel safe, or in fact are not in a safe environment, it will not be possible to achieve our mission, which is ‘Empowering today’s students to grasp tomorrow’s opportunities,’” stated David Crim, Rutherford County’s Safety Director. 

 Crim works to protect Rutherford County from potential threats by implementing various new systems to make the schools safer.  

Some aspects that he encourages students to familiarize themselves with are: “The most important component for school safety is our SRO’s.  These dedicated men and women come to school each day to watch over the schools, keeping them safe while student learn.  They can also be found at games, after school events, and helping coach sports, or helping produce plays and other Drama class projects.  We encourage all students to get to know their SRO’s,” Crim said. 

Another aspect added is an anti-bullying app that allows students to report any cases of bullying. It can also be used to report any threats to school safety, in order to inform the county, so they can take action. 

“One other important component we have added, just this year, is the app “StopIt.”  This app is available for all students county wide, and is free.  You can download it to your smart device and use it to report issues that affect the safety of all.  The access once downloaded is Rutherford#1. We encourage all to download and use this app,” stated Crim.  

This new app will make students feel safer in situations of bullying, threats, etc. He also encourages students to form relationships with their SRO which helps students to feel safer and more comfortable with their school’s safety in particular 

“School Safety Director is a very busy job!  I am involved every day with your principals and AP’s, ensuring that they are implementing our procedures for your safety in your schools.  One of the busiest times of the year for me is the summer, believe it or not!  I have to prepare a great deal of information for the State of Tennessee Dept. of Education, so that we may take the benefit of State grant money to help enhance our schools,” Crim stated. 

“I am also involved closely with the Rutherford County Sheriff’s Office SRO Division, and we meet often to discuss our mutual goals.  I am involved with Information Technology in updating our various security systems we have in place as well.  Finally, I work closely with Student Services staff to assist in helping students who are struggling with personal issues.  I try to visit every school at least one time per semester, and listen to the needs of each school to enhance its safety,” said Crim. 

His job involves completing various tasks in an effort to keep the schools as safe as possible. His involvement with the schools, the SRO division of the Sheriff’s department, the board of education, and the student services staff all play a role in school safety. 

“The number of school violence situations of all kinds has led to a sharp focus on school safety, both externally and internally.  Rutherford County Schools, as I stated earlier, takes school safety most seriously.  This focus on safety also exists at the State levels here in Tennessee, and to that regard, Governor Lee has provided schools with more grant money available to help protect students more effectively,” stated Crim. 

Because our governor’s contributions, we have the funding needed to help keep our schools safe. Some counties are not as fortunate.  

“Our process includes a three-pronged approach to safety, which includes enhancements to technology, facilities, and student services,” said Crim. 

“The most important task we face now is to educate students on the importance of taking school safety very seriously.  There have been a number of false threats issued by students this year, and each one of these events takes hours of investigation in order to determine its validity,” said Crim.  

“We remind students that Law Enforcement does have the ability to obtain your IP addresses, and that all information on your phones, computers, etc. can be downloaded.  Electronic information never goes away, even though some think by deleting it from a smart device or computer, that it disappears.  It is critical for all of us to keep our schools safe, and for those who disrupt education, and require involvement of investigators, we will work closely with Law Enforcement to ensure that these persons are prosecuted.   We encourage all students to be involved in your school’s safety,” Crim stated. 

Crim’s involvement with law enforcement exemplifies his dedication to ensure that the schools are clear of any potential dangers. 

Scott Lawless, a Blackman High School administrator, dedicates a significant portion of his time to ensuring the safety of Blackman High’s campus. A student’s main responsibility should be to make certain the school stays safe.

“Probably the biggest thing that students can do to keep our campus safe is to be aware,” said Lawless.

Awareness seems simple, but there can be a lot of danger that goes unnoticed. With the app “StopIt,your observations can make the difference of our school potentially being in imminent danger and keeping our campus safe.  

Keeping students safe is Rutherford County’s top priority; these new policies and procedures will ensure that schools remain a safe environment