Jeff Harkin discusses safety protocols among administrators

Anna Grueninger and Charlee Doyle

Assistant principal Jeff Harkin has been at North Central for one year prior to the 2022-2023 school year. In this past year, Harkin and other administrators underwent numerous protocols for safety at school.

“We are constantly looking at who needs what training and how we can facilitate getting people the training,” Harkin said.

Administrators at NC have different training through Washington Township and the state. When and how often the protocol training takes place varies.

“Depending on what the training is, the state requires some every year, some every two years, some every three,” Harkin said.

Administration undergoes multiple types of trainings and protocols such as child endangerment, human trafficking, medications and scenarios involving nurses, bullying, tourniquet training and drug testing protocols.

All administrators have the same training and protocols, specifically drug testing and crisis prevention intervention. Right now, the administration is working with the Peace Learning Center.

“It is an opportunity to talk about restorative practices when it comes to training and how to prevent student conflict,” Harkin said, “one we have been doing for the last couple of years and is a good point of emphasis right now.”

In response to the physical altercation involving a knife last school year, there have occasionally been random searches and metal detections of students in the morning.

“Being visible is a huge thing with students so they know that this process is taking place, and maybe it prevents someone from bringing something they shouldn’t have,” Harkin said.

Along with the random searches, administration does hallway sweeps after passing periods throughout the day. They focus on encouraging positive behavior techniques and habits.

“[We] try to protect the learning environment for those classes that are taking place,” Harkin said.

Harkin mentions how there are numerous resources available to students and families if there are any threats to safety. These include the anonymous tip lines and Student Council tip lines that filter from the district level down.

“This place is very blessed compared to some of the other places I have been to, with the amount of resources available for students to report,” Harkin said.

Harkin believes training protocols are important for all administrations.

“School safety is a living breathing entity. Things are always evolving,” Harkin said.

Administrators always try to stay on the forefront of new technology, techniques and tools to help appropriately respond to any situations.

“I want as much training as I can possibly get, because to me that is just more tools and techniques and strategies in my toolbox to help me,” Harkin said.

Administration continues to add new training and protocols throughout the school year, township-wide and state-wide, to maintain the safety of the students and staff at NC.