Staff Editorial: Intruder policy improves

New policies are a welcome change, but there’s still more improvement to be done

Illustration+by+Madeline+Lamons

Illustration by Madeline Lamons

After JagWire published an article last year about the unaddressed safety concerns throughout the school, the district issued new procedures in hopes of improving overall security in a post-Newtown era. We believe these improvements are a step in the right direction, but there are still many changes that need to be made.

The long-standing rule for intruders in the building was to lock the classroom door, turn off the light and hide in the corner. Now, students and teachers have the option of barricading doors and fighting back. School resource officer Mo Loridon will be training staff members in ALICE, a philosophy that provides multiple options for teachers in the case of a crisis. If the goal during an intruder situation is survival, then this new proactive procedure allows students and teachers a fighting chance.

It was necessary for the district to take these steps; however, as it looks toward the future, the district also needs to look for ways to continue improving school safety. Access into schools needs to be restricted to one area of the building through one set of doors, rather than the four that are currently available. In time, it may also become necessary for a panic button to be added to the front offices.

Another issue that has been discussed by teachers is their inability to lock their classroom doors from inside the room. In the event of an intruder, a teacher having to open the door to lock it from the outside poses a threat to both the safety of the teacher and the students. Unfortunately, district finances are reportedly preventing this change.

Communication during a crisis could also be improved. Currently, the intercom cannot be accessed by almost all of the staff; during an intruder situation, teachers should have the ability to warn other parts of the school. This change could allow students and staff throughout the building to escape before finding themselves in danger.

Students also need to do their part. It’s important for students to take drills seriously and realize that they are not a joke. Also, they need to make sure they do the little things that keep our school safer – don’t leave doors to the outside propped open, don’t let students in through restricted entrances and report anything suspicious to a teacher or administrator.

Thus far, the district has taken the right first steps toward improving school safety for everybody. While we realize monetary issues can slow change, we hope that the district will continue to prioritize student safety and make the key modifications.

Original story coverage: https://www.mvnews.org/news/2013/09/20/intruder-procedures-change/

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