Code Red Shines Light on Campus’ Superlative Security


Mr. Crisafi

Security at TBS is of the highest priority, a fact that was underscored during the recent code red.

Ever since 9/11, security has been a major issue for schools, airports, and many public places. This fact was thrown into sharp relief on the morning of Tuesday, October 3 as the Lower/Middle School campus went into a code red lockdown. According to a joint email message sent out to parents by Head of Middle School Mr. Charles Hagy and Head of Lower School Dr. Kristen Sheehan, “There was an unauthorized gentleman on campus who refused to leave. Security and the police officer monitoring morning traffic were quickly contacted. Out of an abundance of caution, we remained under lockdown until the gentleman was removed from campus by police cruiser and the police informed us it was safe to resume normal school operation.”

A code red is a full lockdown of the campus: faculty are required to lock all hallway doors and entry points, cover their doorway windows, hide themselves and their students in their classrooms, stop teaching, turn off the lights, and be silent. Once the code red was over, students and faculty were put into a code yellow for about 15 more minutes to ensure the students’ safety.  A code yellow is not as severe, as teachers are allowed keep lights on and teach, but must keep their door windows covered and the noise level to a minimum.

Mr. Crisafi
New digital scanners, like this one located at the west entrance gate, are being installed throughout the Lower/Middle School Campus.

The lockdown came just two days after the deadliest mass shooting in American history took place during the Route 91 Harvest music festival in Las Vegas, Nevada. The gunman, 58-year-old Stephen Paddock, killed 58 people and wounded  more than 500 others as he opened fire from the 32nd floor of his nearby hotel room.

As a result, many students were scared during the code red. “I thought there was going to be a school shooting, but with the protection of my advisor, Mr. Maddox, I felt safe,” said eighth grader Liam Gaeta.

Once the code green went into effect, meaning the campus was safe, students were able to proceed with their normal Tuesday schedule. However, with little information coming from the administration and faculty, students were still on edge and wondering what happened. “Once it was a code green, I was really hoping that no one was hurt, or in serious danger at any point,” said eighth grader Matthew Roundtree.

Despite the uncertainty of the situation, it was not the first or most dangerous code red TBS has experienced. “My most intense experience was 10 years ago when nearby banks were robbed,” said Dean of Students Mr. Jeffrey Cavallo. “SWAT teams then had to investigate the campus in full tactical armor [as they looked for the suspects].”

After this year’s code red, TBS is now taking greater precaution in order to keep its students safe.  For example, parents are required to use their car numbers during both pickup and dropoff for security personnel to ensure that there are no trespassers. TBS has also installed more security guards during drop-off to help guide cars to their respective locations. All entry point for the campus are also being installed with digital card readers, so that only those with a key or TBS ID badge may gain entry.

TBS is always looking to improve its security, and the School has made wide-ranging improvements over the past few years. “When I first came here, there were no fences or cameras,” said Cavallo, who, along with Lower School Dean of Students Mr. Lee Peterson, heads up the School’s crisis response team.  “Now that these systems are in place, communicating with police will be much easier.  Security will always be the most important priority.”