Rock Island Schools Names New Safety Manager
Mr. Butler will tell you the new role comes with big responsibilities, “It’s some big shoes, however, they’re the only shoes, I’m learning every day and I’m looking forward to where this takes me.”
Summer of 2022, Mr. Butler started his new gig as the District Safety Manager. Not only is it a new position to the district but he’s one of the few District Safety Managers for a school district in the Quad Cities.
“I think that says the district takes safety seriously and I’m looking forward to other districts having a district safety manager in the future because it’s important,” said Mr. Butler.
Mr. Butler has worked in the district first 20 years. He started as a hall monitor and then was promoted to Head of Security at Rock Island High School.
There Mr. Butler was quick to form relationships with staff, students, and even community members. In 2014, he was awarded the city of Rock Island’s Citizen of the Year Award for the difference he made in students’ lives.
So, what does the role of a District Safety Manager entail? He will oversee the safety and protection of all schools (PreK-12) in the district, conduct professional development training for all staff, and be responsible for developing security strategies as well as a number of other responsibilities for the district.
Ultimately the goal of the District Safety Manager is to do just that, to keep everyone safe. Mr. Butler applied for this position because he wanted to look at safety through a different lens and to say that safety is his passion is an understatement.
“Safety is about keeping all stakeholders safe and my first passion is kids and through all of the school shootings in the last ten years, I know that would be very detrimental to this community. I’m a part of this community, I love this community and I wanted to make sure it didn’t happen on my watch. It’s about protection for this community.”
It is something he takes very seriously too, “This is the world we live in right now where you just never know. From the time that I get up, I’ll always think this could be that day and I live like that when I walk on these campuses this could be that day because you never know. We’re not exempt because we’re Rock Island,” said Mr. Butler.
Since being in his new role, Mr. Butler has already made several changes. Every building in the district now has a secure entryway, and all of the buildings now have working PA systems and alarm systems. Early next year all of the buildings will have interior and exterior doors. He’s also made it mandatory that all exterior doors are locked and not to be propped open. All classroom doors are to be locked as well. When it comes to visitors in our buildings anyone that steps inside the building must sign and out.
Mr. Butler says the new position has helped put policies and procedures into place as well as build a better relationship with the community, “The community is on edge too because of all the things that are going on in the world but now people are going to know someone is on this side of it, now they have someone they can trust even more.”
When Mr. Butler isn’t bouncing around between different buildings he’s attending conferences or workshops that involve campus security.
In the summer of 2022, he even made a trip to Uvalde, Texas.
“I went to Uvalde to see tragedy firsthand. I wanted to be there to be a part of that culture, and the healing the part of it so I could learn about what transpired and what happened. That was probably one of the toughest things I’ve ever had to do in my life,” said Mr. Butler.
A tough but eye-opening lesson Butler says, “It made me realize and made me understand that at any given moment that our district could be a Uvalde if we don’t change our culture from a convenience culture to a safe culture.”
Mr. Butler has a lot of plans for the future, including hosting workshops not only for staff and students but for the community as well.
“I think if we collectively all join forces and work together we can get a lot accomplished and we’ll be not just a safer district but a safer community,” Mr. Butler.
He hopes his new position will create tough but necessary conversations and safety will be something everyone is familiar with.
“Don’t hesitate to ask questions. It’s best to ask the questions and seek the answers than to walk around wondering what you should have asked and what you should have done. Be a part of change, be a part of the solution.”