Carmel first high school to receive NCS4’s Sport Event Security Awareness designation
By Ann Marie Shambaugh
Many schools have meticulous plans and procedures to keep students safe in the classroom, but Carmel High School has proven that its security measures extend to the thousands of people – students and guests – who visit the campus for sports and other events after the final bell has rung.
CHS recently became the first high school in the nation to receive the Sport Event Security Awareness designation, an honor typically reserved for collegiate and professional venues. The University of Southern Mississippi’s National Center for Spectator Sports Safety and Security officially presented the honor to the school Oct. 9 at halftime of the varsity football game.
“I wouldn’t say I was surprised, because I think that we have always been a forerunner across the state when it comes to safety,” CHS assistant principal Amy Skeens-Benton said. “It really is an honor that should be shared with our city because of the cooperation we have with our police and fire.”
Skeens-Benton worked with the Carmel police and fire departments to complete a series of assessments and update procedures to NCS4 standards to become eligible for the award.
NCS4 opened up the SESA honor for high schools about two years ago. Dr. Louis Marciani, NCS4 director, said that no other high schools have even begun the lengthy process of seeking the designation.
“The school environment changes after the school day,” Marciani said. “Over 300 million individuals attend events on high school campuses. It is extremely important for high school administrators to view their risk and vulnerabilities differently due to the nature of the campus.”
Skeens-Benton and CHS athletic director Jim Inskeep have been asked to serve on the NCS4 advisory board to help encourage other high schools across the nation to seek SESA designation. As they promote the program, they know that they must keep refining their own policies to set a good example and remain a leader in the field.
“This whole thing is a process,” Skeens-Benton said. “These are things we have to do every single year to make sure these are best practices.”