//PICTURED ABOVE: Members of the security team Eric Roberson, Chris Kerr and Karyn McCoy monitor the weather.
Everyone knows how unpredictable Texas weather can be. With the spring season being a time of increased possibility of more storms and serious weather, Hockaday security tells how they deal with weather-related situations.
Kathryn McCoy, the Director of Safety and Security at Hockaday, is in charge of monitoring the weather and puts together the list of when the school has its drills.
“We figure out how many students we have, how many spaces we have, and what is the safest place to be,” McCoy said.
Around the school, daisy signs are placed on doors outside certain rooms, representing a secure place to go during inclement weather. The daisies also help the younger students, who may not be old enough to read the names of the rooms, find a protected place.
McCoy works with the Eugene McDermott Head of School Dr. Karen Warren Coleman, Chief Operations Officer Joan Guzman, Chief Financial Officer J.T. Coats and Assistant Head of School Blair Lowry to decide whether school needs to be canceled. McCoy has connections with the National Weather Service and if a storm is heading towards the school, McCoy always gets a heads up.
“[The storm] may be a day out, and we’re just watching,” McCoy said. “The day of, we watch [the storm] very closely to see how it could hit Hockaday.”
With snow or ice storms, students are always taken into consideration. Even if the storm does not directly hit Hockaday, McCoy examines how the storm may impact student drivers’ and parents’ drive to school. These factors are taken into consideration when deciding if the school needs to be postponed or canceled.
“Dr. Coleman ultimately makes the decision,” McCoy said. “We give her all the information and then she bases her decision on the information we provide.”
After the tornado hit the Hockaday community back in Oct., security has taken into account the people impacted by the disaster.
“We have always been on task with the tornados,” McCoy said. “But because people are very nervous and because we are now coming into the season of tornados, we are more deliberate about communication between [security] and the faculty and staff, and we think about the students who were impacted by the tornado back in the fall.”
Ava Franklin, a sophomore whose home was destroyed by the October tornado, said she is grateful for the work security puts into making sure students are kept safe during inclement weather.
“I really appreciate how careful the school is being about the weather,” Franklin said. “There was a time earlier in the year when bad weather was coming in and we got out of school early. I felt a lot safer being able to be with my family, and I’m really thankful the school gave me that opportunity.”
Sophomore Sofia Abel, a resident at Hockaday, also said security does a great job of keeping the school and residence safe.
“I always feel safe when I’m at Hockaday because I know the people in charge are making the right decisions,” Abel said. “There is always a plan for what boarders need to do or where to go if there is any bad weather.”
McCoy reassures that safety is her main concern. She has noticed how since the tornado, students are taking the weather much more seriously than they did before.
“I think that is because of the impact [of the tornado],” McCoy said. “Because of that, we’re always trying to make sure that we have all the information before [a storm] happens so that we can be more sensitive about making a decision because people are more frightened.”
Story and photo by Elisa Carroll