Schools Tighten Security
When even the Amish schools are not safe anymore, it is clear that our nation is facing an epidemic of violence directed toward our youth. The people committing these crimes vary, the victims sought out span gender and age borders, and urban and ...
When even the Amish schools are not safe anymore, it is clear that our nation is facing an epidemic of violence directed toward our youth. The people committing these crimes vary, the victims sought out span gender and age borders, and urban and rural communities are equal targets for the hideous attacks.
In order to be prepared for the possibility of such an event in Perham, school board members reviewed and revised their crisis management policy at the October 11 school board meeting. The board approved the first reading of the policy which will be effective beginning with the 2006-2007 school year.
The policy will include at least five school lock-down drills, five fire drills, and one tornado drill. All of the procedures are also being individually reviewed by a committee.
Camera system upgrade needed
Principals from Perham-Dent public schools were present at the October 11 meeting to discuss tightening security in their schools. John Rutten, principal at Perham High School, requested that the board look at the possibility of upgrading the security camera system at the school.
"Of the 16 cameras we have, only 10 are working," Rutten explained to the board. He believes that the cameras not only help to prevent more serious crimes, but are also a significant aid in preventing students from vandalizing the school. Rutten also suggested that the board consider placing a couple of cameras out in the street to monitor activity in the area surrounding the school.
Middle school to practice lock-down
At the middle school, the staff is working on procedures for a lock-down. They will be practicing their first lockdown on Thursday, Oct. 19. The board asked that Principal Krueger look into getting the security camera at the west door of the school repaired.
Elementary Principal Kim Grengs commented how the new crisis management drills and polices have proved to be a learning experience for everyone.
"We have held two lock-downs and three fire drills already this year," said Grengs. "It has been great because we've already learned some things we can work on."
Students will wait in gym at dismissal
One of the most noticeable changes at the school will be the way students are dismissed at the end of the day. In the past, parents were allowed to walk directly to their children's classrooms or pick them up outside of the school. Now, all of these students will be sent to the gymnasium where two paraprofessionals will wait with the students until their parents come to the gym and pick them up.
In an effort to prevent students who ride the bus from waiting outside of the school, students are now going to be released only when their individual busses have arrived. An announcement will be made over the PA excusing kids when their busses are at the building.
All visitors at the school are now required to first report to the office. As a further security measure, every door except for the front door will be locked during school hours. Random checks will be performed to make sure that doors have not been propped open or left unlocked.
Parents of children attending Heart of the Lakes were notified of the school's new security measures. Principal Grengs encourages parents to talk with their children about the changes.
The Model Crisis Management Policy came about as a result of a collaborative effort between the Minnesota Department of Education, Division of Compliance and Assistance; the Minnesota Department of Public Safety, Division of Homeland Security and Emergency Management; and the Minnesota School Boards Association.