H-F High has taken necessary security steps

Administrators at Homewood-Flossmoor High School are cognizant of safety concerns and reassured community members that they are taking all steps to protect the campus.
“I’m incredibly impressed … with the approach this administration has taken toward advancing the ball on security within our building,” said Steve Anderson, president of the District 233 school board. “The things they’re doing that we can’t talk about and you don’t know about make me feel very good of what we do to this place to make it safe for our kids.”
The issue of safety was addressed at the Sept. 17 school board meeting. 
Principal Jerry Anderson said the school works with School Districts 153 in Homewood and District 161 in Flossmoor, the two feeder districts for H-F, and with local law enforcement at all levels.
“We talk about school safety review and procedures and our plans. We work closely with the police to be sure we’re keeping the school as safe as possible,” she added.
H-F has a crew of off-duty law enforcement officers working in the building. Superintendent Von Mansfield called them “individuals who are well prepared.”
He recognized that some schools have armed security but explained at H-F it is “a little more low key.” They may wear H-F jackets and shirts rather than uniforms, but Mansfield said the crew is “still as formidable in taking care of us.”
“Our liaison officers create relationships with students here and outside of school. It’s a win-win situation from that perspective. We want that type of opportunity and protection for our students and staff.”
The shooting in February at Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School in Parkland, Florida, is still fresh in the mind, and the superintendent said H-F has a plan in place for such incidents. He declined to elaborate further. 
“All the things schools are supposed to have in place to respond, we do have those things in place and we do discuss” and review where needed, the board president said.
One parent said she came to pick up her son after a practice at the North Building, and she was concerned by the students’ behavior, which she said was disrespectful.
“I think what we have to be very cognizant of is what H-F students are is kids in high school,” Mansfield said. “Just because you see a group of them doesn’t mean quote-end-quote something bad is happening.  That’s the one stereotype that we have to work through. From our perspective high school kids are high school kids.”
What that means, Mansfield added, is that the students “still need adult supervision because they are high school students.” He said he would ask coaches to remain until the students catch the bus because they typically won’t act out if they know someone is watching them.
Principal Anderson said, “We do have high standards for behavior in this building,” and both she and the superintendent said the school is a safe zone for students who may find themselves approached by others who want to cause trouble.
Mansfield said parents or community members with concerns or information to share should contact him or the principal to set up a meeting.

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A great community deserves a great newspaper. The HF Chronicle was created in June 2014 as an online publication. In December 2015 we began monthly print publication, too. Our mission is to chronicle the life of our community — news by, for, and about the people of Homewood and Flossmoor, Illinois.


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