New Security Measures Implemented Summer 2022


Charlotte Comeaux, Reporter

There are a few new security enhancements on campus this year. Students may have received a new sticker for their cars or seen, not one, but two police officers walking around campus. The implementation of Fort Worth Police officers is not new, but the addition of a second officer is new as of August 2022. Breakthrough and the Fort Wonder Programs had one police officer on campus this summer, which they had previously never had.

Since the 1980s, Fort Worth Country Day has been continuously working to make our school safer; therefore, our safety measures have evolved over the years. Since Craig Slayton, Manager of Security and Safety, started at Country Day in 2000, he remembers always having a police officer on campus for a few hours during the day, every day. He noted that the officer, while always on campus, was not always patrolling, but sometimes helped out at the gates and with other security systems on campus.

Head of School Eric Lombardi explained that he is always trying to find new ways to improve safety on campus, and this year a plethora of procedures were implemented. 

For example, 15 walkie talkies have been distributed to all of the Senior Leadership Team (all of the program heads) so members can communicate quickly in case of an emergency. The plan is for someone on the team to be at the scene of the emergency within a minute or two. On top of that, the Auxs App, which was used by students to submit their temperature and any other relevant COVID-19 related information during the 2020-2021 school year, is now used by faculty to report emergencies, which alert the Senior Leadership Team. Some of the team’s members also attended a webinar surrounding maintaining safety and security on both school and office campuses.

The “CareHawk” system, which is a communication network of two-way intercoms, has been put in all of the middle school classrooms in case of emergencies. This way, a teacher can press a button in their classroom and alert the middle school office to make the administration aware of the emergency at hand. When the lower school is re-built and the upper school is renovated, the systems will also be placed in those buildings.

Some of the other implementations include: completing the fencing around the ropes course, doors that lock from the inside, and adding more security cameras in the visual arts building. 

With the addition of the second police officer, the goal is for the officers to be spread out on campus so that in the case of an emergency, at least one officer could be at the site within a minute or two. In 2015, when Lombardi first started as the Head of School, one police officer would be on campus patrolling for four hours a day, but the exact times were not released to the public so that security would not be compromised. Now, there are two police officers on campus all day and every day, which is new as of this August. The officers are part of the FWCD community like any teacher, student, or other faculty member, and maintain that intent while also focusing on the safety of everyone on campus.

Slayton explained that at the end of each year, he sends Lombardi a list of his ideas about new security measures that he thinks could help throughout the next school year. Lombardi then brings the ideas to the security company that Country Day works with, and they decide which systems to put into place. Lombardi noted that even though the security systems are very strict, he works to make sure that our school is still a school environment while maintaining the security it needs.

“We’re going to keep…walking the line between being a school environment and being the Transportation Security Administration,” Lombardi said.

Upper School Division Head Peggy Wakeland is a part of the Senior Leadership Team. She aims to create a system in which students practice emergency drills enough so that they become muscle memory in the case of a real emergency. During faculty in-service days this summer, she scheduled “mini-drills,” where throughout the day she led the Upper School faculty through a tornado drill, a lockdown drill, and a fire drill.

“Our commitment to practice the drills is critical to our accountability in situations that we are not in control of. A choice not to practice these drills would be considered willful negligence,” Wakeland said.

Students have expressed their feelings that their safety is important and they are proud of Country Day because of the new measures that have been implemented.

“The new security measures have made a substantial impact on campus. I feel very protected knowing that so many security measures have been put into place for my safety,” Gigi Schueneman ‘26 said.

“The best part about this new security system is that our school is being more proactive…school should be a place where you can learn and have fun, not a place where you should be scared,” Reagan Hall ‘24 said. 

Safety is of the utmost importance at Fort Worth Country Day, and the new systems prove the dedication the school has to keep its population safe.