The Shamong Township school district’s buildings and grounds supervisor and safety chairman, briefed the school board on a series of initiatives underway to improve school security in light of the Newtown, Conn. tragedy.
Immediately after the Newtown shootings, where a gunman shot 20 children and six adults at Sandy Hook Elementary School, arrangements were made with the state police barracks at Red Lion to establish random walk-through patrols for both schools. In addition to this active measure, a series of passive actions were identified at the most recent safety committee meeting and are currently under way. Included as prominent fixes: modify door locks, additional security clearance “buzz-in,” installation of convex mirrors, changes to fire drill procedures to maintain lockdown, the elimination of short-term unlock times and, random drills with varying scenarioses. The inclusion of these new initiatives, none of which involve massive outlays of time or money, will provide a marked improvement, according to district officials.
Additionally, the district’s maintenance department has undertaken a new program called “walking if not working” to increase adult presence in the hallways, especially when classes are in session. Moreover, children are required to hanglanyards with ID cards in school for teachers easily checking.
In addition, high visibility yellow lanyards will be issued to all authorized short-term visitors, substitutes and contractors so they are readily identified as approved to be in the building by all personnel. For substitutes, a laminated card with instructions for drills will be attached to the lanyards. Planning is under way to refine drills during lunch, recess, sporting events and other situations.
Also during the meeting, Jeff Warner was sworn in to complete the unexpired term of a board member who retired from the board late last year. Warner will continue to serve until 2014