Safer security

Changes in school safety make their way to NPHS


Gracia Lantis

Students fill out the sign out sheet at the front of North Platte High School. Senior Daphanie Ham thinks the sign out system is inconvenient. “It’s ridiculosly unorganized,” she said. However, the administration remains optimistic. “It takes a little bit of time to get these things in place,” superintendent Ron Hanson said.

If you want to enter North Platte High School this year, be prepared for a TSA-like time consuming wait. Major security changes have been put into place. Although tragedies like school shootings at Parkland and Santa Fe encouraged the administration to make changes, principal Scott Siegel said that the tighter security was ultimately a part of ongoing plans. “It wasn’t necessarily in reaction to any one event, it was more of just doing the right thing,” he said.

The biggest adjustments for students and staff alike is a check-in point at the front door and the alarms on all of the exterior doors in the building. In previous years, any visitors to the school would have to sign a sheet of paper with their name, destination, and the time they arrived at school. Now, everyone who comes through the building have to stop, produce a photo ID and sign in. Students and staff must show their school ID. Visitors need to show their driver’s license.


If you see something or hear something, say something.

— SRO J. Johnson

So far, the process has been a bit rocky. Seniors with out periods typically have to wait in long lines. As the year goes on, the administration hopes to introduce a computer system called Raptor. It will allow anyone to scan their IDs or license, rather than fill out a sheet of paper. “It would have been ideal to have that [Raptor] in place when school started, but this is all a work in progress,” superintendent Ron Hanson said. When Raptor is eventually installed, only visitors will use it. There’s an extension that would allow students and staff to scan their IDs, but for now, the district would like to test the system with just guests.

If you go out of any door other than the main ones, you’ll sound off new alarms. According to School Resource Officer Jeremiah Johnson, many schools across the nation are adopting a policy of single door access. “Our building is so big, with so many doors, we can’t control all the doors all the time,” he said. “For the doors we can’t monitor all the time, we had to put an audible alarm on those.” The system works like this: no matter what time of day, any time an exit door is opened, an alarm sounds at the door and goes off in the main office of the high school. From there, the principals can go to the doors and investigate what’s going on, or they can check the security cameras and see who used the door. The alarms also sound when expected, like a planned event such as band or maintenance.

Student safety is the top priority for the administration and other officials within the school district. “Nationwide events impact us locally. You always think it’s not going to happen here, but it could happen here,” Hanson said.