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story.lead_photo.caption COURTESY PHOTO Jon Purifoy, second from right, principal of Farmington High School, was one of three candidates considered for the award Administrator of the Year in School Safety by the Arkansas Safe School Association.

FARMINGTON -- Jon Purifoy, Farmington High School principal, was one of three candidates nominated as Administrator of the Year in School Safety by the Arkansas Safe School Association.

The award was presented to Jeff Holt, assistant principal with Russellville Middle School, at the 15th annual Arkansas Safe Schools Conference on July 17 in North Little Rock. In addition to Purifoy and Holt, another nominee was Jake Long, superintendent of Mountain Home School District.

Bryan Law, superintendent of Farmington schools, said while Purifoy did not receive the top award, the fact that he was nominated and recognized shows his commitment to school safety.

"I think our district as a whole is certainly out in the front as far as school safety," Law said. "We've taken it very seriously and I think Jon has taken it very seriously. Jon has led the way."

Purifoy did not know he had been nominated and later found out his high school media specialist, Kaylyn Busch, is the one who submitted his name for the award.

Busch said she has seen how Purifoy has taken "every little step" to make sure the high school is as safe and secure as possible.

The high school has safety measures in place, conducts training sessions for staff and students and has an open communication system to make sure everyone knows what is going on in case of an emergency or crisis, Busch said.

"Hopefully, we never have to go through this but I appreciate we're taking the time to be ready," Busch said, adding, "I appreciate what he's done and so do the other teachers and our students. There's always a safer level we can be at and I think he is always looking for that."

Purifoy said he was honored to be nominated and to stand alongside two other men who "really work hard to make a difference in their districts."

Since the new high school opened two years ago, Purifoy and his staff have installed and implemented several features for added safety and security.

The school started out by adding a nightlock system to all doors in the facility.

Purifoy said he ordered one nightlock at first to see if it would work. The school installed the lock and Purifoy said he asked a couple of his football players and stronger staff to try to "bust the door down" to get into a room.

They tried and it wasn't budging, Purifoy said.

"I thought that's a pretty good system."

The door locks are located at floor level out of the reach of an active intruder.

Farmington High has night locks on all classroom doors as well as other doors where students might go for safety from an active intruder, such as custodial closets and offices. Other schools in the district followed Purifoy's lead and have the door locks in their buildings.

The high school has a sound system and video surveillance and monitoring system so that staff members are able to see everywhere in the building and communicate throughout the building.

This system is necessary, he said, to be able to let everyone know if an intruder is in the building and let students and staff know the location of an intruder in the school.

The school has held training exercises with students in different situations, such an intruder in a hallway or an intruder in a classroom, so they can practice what steps to take to move to safety.

The school installed safety glass in several areas. Purifoy said the safety glass is not break proof but it takes a minute and a half of striking the glass before it will break and fall out.

"So you have time to get somewhere," he said.

The school has added letters on the outside of the building to help first responders know where to go in case of an emergency.

Purifoy also has allowed Farmington High to be used as a training site for several agencies and organizations. He estimates that more than 180 emergency responders have attended training workshops at the school.

"These are people from around here," Purifoy said. "Now, they know our building. That's a bonus for our kids."

Purifoy's next safety feature is an idea of his own and he's talked to someone about designing the item for him.

He wants a window cover for each classroom door and the room number will be printed on both sides of the cover. Purifoy's idea is that a student will just have to touch the cover or screen and it automatically will go down to cover the window.

So that when students are hiding in a room, they will first set the nightlock and then pull down the window cover. This way students will know the room number from the inside of the classroom and any first responders in the hallway will know that students are locked inside that room for safety.

Purifoy noted that in an emergency situation, students hiding in a room may be anxious and scared and not able to remember the number of the room they are inside.

"I needed something quick that would work and would last," Purifoy said.

Purifoy said he hopes to be able to install the window covers this fall.

Congratulations to our principal, Mr. Purifoy, for being nominated as one of the top Administrators of the Year in School Safety by the Arkansas Safe School Association. Mr. Purifoy continues to provide a safe environment for his teachers and students by holding consistent drills and training sessions, installing NightLock devices on every classroom door, and maintaining constant communication with local emergency personnel. We thank him for his continued efforts in keeping our school safe!

The awards were given at the 15th annual Arkansas Safe Schools Conference July 17 in North Little Rock.

Bryan Law:

School safety district-wide includes door locks but the high school was the first building to install the extra secure door locks.

The high school has been the site for many training sessions.

General News on 08/07/2019

Print Headline: Farmington Principal Recognized For School Safety

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