As Principal of Richmond Hill High School, I take great pride in the Bryan County Schools’ commitment to the safety and security of all of the children in each of its nine schools. We strictly adhere to protocols specifically designed to protect the health and welfare of all of our students during times of bad weather, threats to physical safety, and medical emergencies. I was sadly disappointed to read the error-laden article “Richmond Hill firefighters frustrated by 911 call” printed in the January 18 edition of the Savannah Morning News. I can only clarify some of those misleadings because much of the information released to the press by others is information protected by the privacy laws of the state and federal governments, which fortunately prevent me as a public servant from commenting.
On Tuesday, January 16, we had a teacher-recognized medical emergency with a student who was immediately taken to the school clinic for medical evaluation. Our school nurse, who is registered and has 22 years of service in critical care hospital environments, followed an emergency protocol to determine if life-threatening symptoms were being exhibited by the student.
After the nurse determined that this was not a life-threatening emergency, an assistant principal and the school resource officer escorted the student to the school office while the nurse, who remained with the student, continued monitoring the student under a medical emergency protocol. Several attempts to contact the custodial parent failed, but a direct relative was found and reported immediately to the school to provide some needed information. The school nurse informed me that the student needed to be transported to a hospital for further medical tests by the Emergency Medical Services who would continue to monitor the student’s condition en route.
I instructed the school resource officer to request an ambulance but not the fire department, as this was not a life- threatening emergency. He radioed his dispatch office for an ambulance rather than call 911. No one at the school called 911.The fire department response was based on what they overheard on the scanner. The fire department was not dispatched by 911, but it responded nevertheless. Upon the arrival of EMS, the fire department personnel entered the building along with the Emergency Medical Technicians. The fire department then left when they were told by the EMT’S that they had the situation under control and would be transporting the student.
While this was a serious incident, we are fortunate as this was an isolated case in our school.
Any differences or misunderstandings with any occurrence at Richmond Hill High are best dealt with by first calling me at the school.
Charles O. Spann,
Richmond Hill High School