Enhancements Modernize Campus Safety

Kailey Calvo, Co-Editor

Lake Highland is an exceptionally safe school, but some may not know the background behind said safety. One may
wonder, “Who is working both behind the scenes and on the front lines directing traffic, and the answer is Mr. Conan Bick-
ford, Campus Safety and Transportation Manager. Mr. Bickford is integral to campus safety and has been employed by LHP for 27 years. He makes decisions about school closures during hurricanes, decides when students are dismissed during lightning
storms, and runs important fire and safety drills. With new safety protocols, Mr. Bickford and LHP administration are ensur-
ing that Highlanders are as safe as possible, while cultivating growing minds in the classroom.

The Campus Safety Team is made up of friendly faces that the Highlander community interacts with daily. Their kindness and professionalism truly help set LHP’s Campus Safety Team apart from all else. “Two [main] things that set our security team apart,” stated Mr. Bickford, are, “First, the level of formal education with fifty percent of the department holding a Bachelor’s Degree. Second, is the level of experience. Members all have a significant amount of career experience in security, military, law enforcement, fire service, medical, lifeguarding, and social work.” The Campus Safety Team is always looking towards the future of improving their current standings, and Mr. Bickford shared that they have, “Made great strides in quality
control and efficiency.” Currently, there are many security systems that are nearing end of life, like the fencing and lightning alert systems, so they will be getting upgraded soon. Campus Safety officers truly go above and beyond to ensure that all Highlanders are safe from the moment they step foot on campus.

The most apparent Campus Safety adjustment is the display of student identification at all times while on campus. This may come as a shock to Highlander families. However, IDs are a natural addition, as faculty, administration, parents, and the new construction team for the Porter Center are all required to wear identification as well. This change is essential for the safety of LHP students, as the campus is now more “open” than ever with the construction of the Porter Center. Mr. Bickford commented on this new change highlighting, “The IDs are helpful for new employees to get to know [student] names. They are also helpful in spotting persons that may be out of place [on our campus].” Currently, only faculty and staff are able to open locked building doors on campus; however, this will soon be a privilege given to students. “Many high-tech applications will be possible with the badges such as building access,” Mr. Bickford revealed. Although some students may be upset with this tedious process of remembering their badges, ultimately, this change is for the benefit of all Middle and Upper School students, and is also an essential tool that ensures all are safe throughout the school day.

A benefit about Campus Safety is that the team hosts, “Training sessions on various topics at least once a month,” shared Mr. Bickford. These training sessions are open to Highlander staff, students, and families, and cover a various range of topics like, “Verbal Judo (verbal de-escalation), CPR/AED/First Aid, Active Violence Emergency Response Training (AVERT), NWS SKYWARN, Alive at 25 Defensive Driver Training, and Mental Health First Aid,” commented Mr. Bickford. Highlanders
will be notified about training sessions via campus postings and email. Along with these trainings, there are new and improved protocols that are currently being implemented such as, “Increased officer presence with the help of high visibility uniforms, increased ID checks, training – Annual CPR/ AED, first aid; Active Violence Emergency Response Training (AVERT); SKYWARN National Weather Service training, external peer review of operations, and expansion of the gunshot detection system,” explained Mr. Bickford. The steps that the Campus Safety Team are taking to make LHP safer truly demonstrate how innovative LHP is.

Some may only think that there is security patrolling LHP during school hours, but on the contrary, “Lake Highland has a security presence around the clock. Officer staffing levels vary based on volume of events and security threat levels,” Mr. Bickford added. To an outsider, it may seem that the 20 members of the Campus Safety Team are the only ones keeping Highlanders safe throughout the day. Nonetheless, many different departments have roles in keeping LHP secure. LHP’s Maintenance Department, Technology Department, clinic, and athletic trainers, Human Resources Department, Front Office staff, and faculty are just some of the groups that play key roles in campus safety, said Mr. Bickford. Outside agencies like the, “Orlando Police, locksmiths, insurance loss control reps, fire inspectors, alarm technicians, fire suppression system technicians, private executive protection professionals, electricians, food safety managers, doctors, hazardous materials disposal technicians, training specialists, camera technicians, emergency communications specialists, K-9 handlers, and members of the National Weather Service,” all have integral roles in keeping Lake Highland as safe as possible, Mr. Bickford mentioned. This collaboration between LHP departments truly sets campus safety apart, as the flow of communication facilitates a more secure and safer learning environment for all.

(Above) There are several department headquarters on LHP’s campus, like the College and Career Center and the Upper School Office. There are also several headquarters, for behind-the-scenes departments like Campus Safety and Transportation, as well as the Business Office and Human Resources all of which are off campus. In the Campus Safety and Transportation HQ, all shipments get inspected, and there are many different supplies within the headquarters for anything Highlanders may need to keep us safe. Photo by Kailey Calvo. (Photo by Kailey Calvo.)
(Above) All shipments that come onto the LHP Campuses must be inspected thoroughly by Mr. Conan Bickford. One of the most exciting recent arrivals to the Campus Safety Department was an illusion for David Copperfield’s Project Magic class, which came in two separate crates and weighed over 600 pounds. Photo
courtesy of Mrs. Jennifer Bray. (Photo courtesy of Mrs. Jennifer Bray.)
(Above) Because of new construction advances at the Porter Center for Innovation and Academics, safety protocols have been added for students crossing Highland Avenue to the World Language and Multicultural
Center, in order to get to their classes. There is now a safety officer permanently stationed at the cross- ing during transition periods in order to ensure that students are safe during the crossing and that traffic
moves smoothly. Photo by Ms. Ginger Bryant. (Photo by Ms. Ginger Bryant.)