Printed from the blog of Lori Greene, AHC/CDC, CCPR, FDAI
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Mar 25 2014

WWYD? School Sign In

Category: News,School Security,WWYD?Lori @ 7:46 am Comments (19)
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There may be more to this story but as it is currently being reported in the news, the mother of a child with special needs received a frantic phone call from her son’s teacher because her son was panicking.  The mother rushed to the school, was “buzzed in” the front door because she is a known parent, and spoke briefly to a teacher who asked what was wrong.  The mother ran directly to the classroom to calm her son, and was then approached by the principal who told her that she had already called the police to report an unauthorized entry to the school.  Because the mother did not stop to sign the book when she entered the school, she was arrested on trespassing charges and the school was put on lock-down for a short period.

Mom Reportedly Arrested After Failing To Sign In At School’s Front Desk – Huffington Post
Mother ARRESTED and school put on lockdown after she’s called to pick up special needs son but doesn’t sign in – Daily Mail

What do you think?  Did the school overreact, considering that the parent was known to staff?  Or should adherence to security plans be a zero-tolerance policy?

19 Responses to “WWYD? School Sign In”

  1. Cda says:

    1. She was called saying something was wrong

    2. She was buzzed in

    3. She talked to a teacher at some point prior to going to classroom

    Sounds like overreaction to me, warning at the most

    With retraining of staff on top of that!!!!!!

  2. Lee Francisco says:

    The individual who buzzed the mother in is at fault here.

  3. Safecrackin Sammy says:

    We had a recent event similar to this here last week…

    A student noticed another student intentionally cutting their own arm in class with a snap off piece of a razor knife blade. She was able to get the razor away from the student and threw it in the trash as class was ending for the day.

    She did not report it to a guidance counselor until the next day fearing that her classmate may get in trouble and develop more issues. When the school learned of the event SHE WAS LISTED FOR LONG TERM SUSPENSION/EXPULSION for handling the “weapon” in school.

    It has since been resolved after much exposure from the local news and she is back in school with her record expunged of the incident for helping her friend.

    The point being “zero tolerance” is designed to remove the human factor from an incident so that future liabilities are mitigated and the school is protected. Forget about the students lives it may destroy. Schools just dont want to be responsible for anything.

    Horse hockey! School administrators normally have PHD’s and a lot of psych classes under their belt. They are not LEO’s but they have the capacity to make rational decisions that benefit all involved..

    Stop and think of where we would be as a society if all of our laws were “zero tolerance” with no judges, appeals,or temperance of the law when needed….

    • Lori says:

      I read about the razor blade incident. I’ve seen so many ridiculous (IMO) examples of zero-tolerance…I worry that my kids could do something dumb at school that could have lasting effects.

  4. Marvin Kemp says:

    I agree with Cda and Lee – the issue is with lack of staff training. If the parent was arrested, was the admin who “buzzed” her in also terminated? Zero tolerance for students and parents has to be accompanied with zero tolerance for staff mistakes. When administrators are facing having to terminate long-time, highly qualified staff for an honest mistake, perhaps the mask of zero tolerance will be removed.

  5. Rachel Smith says:

    I think even if the parent was recognized, there are issues of divorces, etc where all of a sudden there is a restraining order on a parent, and that when the person signs in there would be a check against a list of those not allowed into the school and the person then halted. I think that the staff member who did not follow policy should also be reprimanded (suspension, and retraining, not necessarily terminated). I have a child that when younger had melt downs, I understand the situation, but I also understand and respect the need for new improved school security.

    • Ed Bjork, AHC says:

      It sounds like the front office did not know of this situation until the parent showed up. If they have a zero tolerance policy, part of that policy should also be how to handle emergency situations. If the parent is contacted directly by staff in the classroom, front office or administrators should also be contacted at that time so they know the parent is coming, to meet the parent at the door, assist them in defusing the situation by getting them to the classroom as quick as possible and then handle the sign in procedures, even if it means a staff member logging the parent in if they had to go with their child to the hospital.

  6. Dave C. says:

    Although there were many mistakes made; its an example of you can’t always teach common sense.

    Now would be a good time for the administrators to take this incident and create a protocol for their front office for emergency situations like this.

    Best we can do is learn from our mistakes.

  7. Joel Luper says:

    If the school calls a particular parent to come handle an emergency situation, the staff at the entry must be alerted that the parent is on the way. No sign-in would be required and visual recognition would be acceptable.

    Come-on folks, lets use a little common sense.

  8. Eric says:

    What has this world come to? It sounds like the principal was on a power trip but there very well could be more to the story. Either way, it was a recognized parent that was called to the school for an emergency. She didn’t run in unannounced. If she had, that would change things entirely (because there are plenty of crazy parents out there that hurt their own kids).

  9. KLE says:

    I also agree with Cda and Lee. Common sense has been lost and replaced with “zero tolerance”. Just another way to avoid thinking and responsibility.

  10. Bill B says:

    Think the school over reacted. Don’t they have someone to verify sigature process when someone arrives ar the school?

  11. David A Wiant says:

    The person pushing the button to release the door is damned if they do, and dammed if they don’t. I am married to a gal whose job it was to push that button. If she doesn’t want them inside, there is no “Plan B”. If she lets them in, then they’re in; and getting them to report to the office? Well, maybe… Doing this right requires a person who is qualified and trained to man the door and take control.

  12. Joel Niemi says:

    I agree with Joel Luper.

    Procedure book needs to be re-written to read “If teacher calls parent to respond, teacher needs to contact office and inform them that parent will be coming and may need to be admitted in a hurry.”

    Since parent was known to at least two other staff, seems like there was appropriate screening.

    Principal doesn’t seem like one I would want to work under. Law-enforcement officers over-reacted as well.

  13. Nolan Thrope says:

    This is the same principal who will beg a cop for leniency when he gets pulled over for speeding.

  14. David Moyer says:

    IMO, this is an over reaction on the part of the principal.
    A teacher initiated the call to the parent asking them to come deal with an emergency with the child. It is understandable the parent wanted to get to their panic-stricken child ASAP. To then arrest the parent, IMO, is over-reaction to a zero tolerance policy that needs revision. The school needs a policy (and staff training) to deal with these situations. The principal is at fault for over-reacting.

  15. Brendan Daley says:

    We have not heard the principal’s side, did the principal know who had been buzzed in or did they just see a person running down a hallway? Was the woman acting erratically? What were the police told on the call to them? A 1000 more possible ??

    Guess what someone had seconds to react, the Arapahoe CO shooting lasted 80 seconds from start to when he killed himself. It is debated if this includes the time to walk from his parked car but I don’t think it matters.

    I will give you a question from a military training course I had to take for the government.

    “You walk up on a man punching a woman in the face, she is screaming please please help me my husband is going to kill me…
    What do you do?”

    Mind you we debated it for 8 hours.

  16. David Barbaree says:

    I don’t disagree with Brendan that the principal’s story may add details missing from the parent’s side of the story. But the principal could have easily assessed the situation AFTER calling the police and canceled the call, or at the very least, prevented the police action prompting the arrest. Even if the parent was belligerent in the face of being questioned while trying to calm their child, some understanding, and yes, common sense could have calmed the situation immediately. Signing in is a rule used as a function of security protocols. It does not, in and of itself, provide the secure environment and keep people safe. Confirming who the woman was and assessing her real threat would have accomplished more. I agree with Eric. The principal was on a power trip.

    Personal experience: A few years ago, my son accidentally left a pocket knife in his backpack and took it to school. He was with a teacher and took it out while looking for some homework. He was very embarrassed and a little scared when she said she would have to report it and he would have to go to the principal. I was called and the principal, after talking with my son, told me he thought it was an honest mistake. Oh, also, the principal said, “I didn’t measure the blade. If it’s over 3″ I have to file a police report.” He gave me the knife and made it clear this should NEVER happen again. It never did! I was grateful for a principal with a sense of reasonable judgement.

    To me, this shows the difference between laws and principles. Laws and strict rules don’t require or even allow much thought process. Principles require much more thinking. Laws always have exceptions. Principles apply to everything.

  17. John Payson says:

    By the sound of it, the mother had no reason to believe that whoever buzzed her in would not have taken care of the sign-in requirement (the teacher should have called the office while the mother was en-route, so the person could fill in everything but the time of arrival before the mother showed up, and filled that in as soon as she saw the mother show up.

    If that didn’t happen, the conduct of people who saw the mother and called police without understanding the situation may have been perfectly reasonable and appropriate, but unless the mother’s conduct would have been grossly unreasonable for someone who had just been told there was an emergency at the school, I see no basis for arrest. The police should have shown up, asked the mother what she was doing, confirmed her explanation with school staff, and apologized to the mother for the inconvenience. Unfortunately, I suspect that in situations like that there is all too often a perceived need to punish someone for the fact that the police were needlessly summoned, as opposed to a willingness to acknowledge that occasional false alarms are merely a consequence of vigilance.

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