by Sara Hill
Immediately following the Uvalde school shootings, parents and grandparents of Revere Local School District students began calling School Resource Officer Scott Dressler wanting to know if their children were safe, if students should attend school, how they could help and what leaders were doing to keep buildings secure – and if their efforts were enough.
“I definitely got choked up at some of these calls. One of the grandparents said their grandchild asked him, ‘Papa, is it safe for me to go to school?’ Dressler said.
The massacre at Robb Elementary in Uvalde, Texas, where an 18-year-old gunman walked in May 24 and killed 19 students and two teachers, is the deadliest school mass shooting in nearly a decade, according to news reports, and despite classes across the nation being out for summer vacation, there is a nervous tension amongst parents here and everywhere.
“In the ten days following Uvalde, there were 19 mass shootings across the country,” Dressler said in a June 6 phone interview. “A mass shooting is defined as involving three or more people. It’s getting outrageous.”
Dressler, who in 2020 was named Ohio’s School Resource Officer of the Year by the Ohio School Resource Officers Association, outlined the safety protocols he oversees in the district. By definition, an SRO program places law enforcement officers/deputies in schools with the goal of creating and maintaining a safe, secure and orderly learning environment for students, teachers and staff, according to the website for the Ohio School Resource Officers Association.
In the Revere Local School District several safety measures are firmly in place, according to Dressler. Buildings are locked all day with badge access only. Security cameras are located throughout the buildings. Staff training and safety/evacuation drills are ongoing. Lockdown buttons would immediately send messages to local police departments in the event of an emergency. An app is installed on every educator’s mobile device that alerts safety personnel of the exact location of a threat. Safety procedures are regularly discussed with staff.
“We’re constantly looking at upgrades and writing many grants to upgrade our technology, camera systems and doors,” Dressler said, and added that the district is looking into bringing more law enforcement officers on campus.
In the case of an active shooter both Bath and Richfield police departments would respond and the on-duty officer would make immediate entry, according to Richfield Police Chief Michael Swanson. He said that Metro SWAT would also respond directly to the scene and their active shooter protocol is also to make immediate entry, with the goal to quickly eliminate the threat.
Dressler has been the full-time SRO for five years. In the summer months, he teaches and runs Safety Town, a program for incoming kindergarten students, is a constant presence at the numerous summer activities that occur on school grounds including football practice, marching band and camps, and plans for the next school year by checking equipment and reviewing protocols. In August, he conducts teacher safety training.
“One of the biggest things we convey is, ‘See Something, Say Something,’ and on top of that, ‘Do Something’ by notifying someone immediately. We have tip lines, everyone has my cell phone number, we have presence on social media, we have email, texts, and we can meet anytime and talk it over,” Dressler said.
An incident like Uvalde puts law enforcement on high alert and makes you become even more visible on school grounds, Dressler said.
He advises people everywhere to always be vigilant, know their exits and carry a charged cell phone. ∞