Busy week for B-A security team


Morgan Kienzle

Officers Hannah and Mercer have been the driving forces behind improving safety protocols at B-A.

Jayden Bartlebaugh, Staff Writer

According to the National Center for Education Statistics, in 2020-21 there were 93 school shootings with casualties.

This number has been slowly increasing over the years and is a growing problem for schools across America.

B-A recognized its school police officers this week with a special poster. (Kerry Naylor)

Luckily for Bellwood-Antis, students, staff, faculty, and administration have 3 security guards protecting and watching the B-A’s three school buildings at all times. 

Tim Mercer and Jeff Hannah have been working at B-A since 2018. Mr. Mercer was a lieutenant colonel as a state police officer for 27 years before coming to Bellwood. Mr. Hannah was a PA state trooper for 21 years. 

 Since 2018 Bellwood has implemented several security protocols including opening only one entrance to the school during school hours – a single point of entry. Along with this restriction, Bellwood has also implemented a one-way road for the parking lot and door fobs which can only be accessed by staff. There are also number decals on doors to quickly identify rooms in the case of emergency.

Mr. Mercer and Mr. Hannah will continue their push for safety and security at B-A’s teacher in-service this week.

With the growing number of school shootings in the U.S, Bellwood is always trying to improve safety and security measures with several tests and instructional days for teachers and staff.

On the February 17, B-A will be having an in-service day for teachers and staff to improve their skills at identifying threats. It will be led by Mr. Mercer and Mr. Hannah.

For several years Mr. Mercer and Mr. Hannnah have helped train the staff on the run, hide, fight method for dealing with active shooters.

One of these tests include the firing of blank rounds in the hallways, since the sound of a gun indoors is different than outside. If the shot is far away then the teacher should run from the shot. If the shot is close then the teachers will hide. And if the shot is right next to them they are advised to fight. 

The district announced via voicemail on Wednesday that this drill may contain messages over buildings public address systems that may be heard in the areas surrounding the district buildings.

However, this is just scratching the surface of the multitude of steps taken to protect B-A students.

Mr. Mercer and Mr. Hannah begin every morning by helping to keep the flow of traffic going through the high school parking lot. Alongside helping students and parent drivers, they also are watching for any unwanted guest entering the building.

From day to day Mr. Mercer and Mr. Hannah walk around the building making sure doors are locked and safe and checking the exterior of the building. They also are very friendly and interact with students in the building. Closing out the day they will make sure departure is safe and all doors are secure.

They have also helped establish and implement procedural responses for threats to the school. This includes natural phenomena like winter storms and ice rain as well as medical emergencies and active shooters. This allows the school to plan ahead for the future in knowing if they need to evacuate the school.

We are always trying to add and improve(security).

— Tim Mercer

“We are always trying to add and improve(security),” said Mr. Mercer.

Teachers will also be shown different firearms to help them identify guns that may be concealed. 

It’s safe to say Bellwood is doing a fantastic job keeping students safe and since February 15th was National School Resource Officer Day we are happy to take the time to recognize these officers as an important part of our everyday lives.