School liaison officer gives update during Board of Education

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By Katie Stiefel
Entirely East Lansing staff writer

The technology has changed since 2004, and so have students.

Det. Steven Whelan of the East Lansing Police Department Detective Bureau and school liaison officer updated the Board of Education on recent technological advances and emergency protocols within the school district on March 10.

Whelan has worked in East Lansing High School as liaison officer since 2004 and said that he has seen positive changes.

“The atmosphere when I came in years ago, there was a lot of turmoil. There were a lot more fights and things,” Whelan said.

Whelan credits the school district administration for the change in atmosphere due to its consistency and high expectations for students.

Not only has the environment in the high school improved, but so has the technology.

A new locking system including emergency locks and access keys to the buildings in the district was recently installed as well as a new camera system, Whelan said.

There are updated emergency protocols in the district that Whelan said would also be more helpful for administrators, teachers and students to follow.

“We’ve got a thick red book that was updated in 2004 with all of our emergency protocols. We’ve made some adjustments along the way, but rather than adjusting the whole book, we want to rethink the whole procedure,” Whelan said.

Whelan said he and other officials in the school district have been talking to officials in other school districts to compare emergency plans but are waiting for further direction from the state government.

“The governor has a safe-school task force that is meeting and are suppose to be coming out in the next month with templates for emergency plans for each of the schools in the state,” Whelan said.

Board of Education treasurer Nell Kuhnmuench said that Whelan should reiterate the new medical emergency procedure to teachers and be sure they have been trained and not just told to follow the directions above the phones in their classrooms.

Whelan finished the presentation by telling the Board of Education his goal.

“There is a huge task here to keep every student in the district safe. That’s what I wake up with in the morning and go to bed with at night, to make sure we are doing our very best,” Whelan said.

Board of Education trustee Kay Biddle said she recognizes the difference in the environment in schools with Whelan as the school liaison officer and appreciates it very much.

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