Niles board discusses student safetyPublished 9:11pm Monday, December 17, 2012
In light of the tragic school shooting Friday in Connecticut, members of the Niles Community Schools Board of Education held an open discussion on ways to improve student safety during Monday’s regular meeting.
Supt. Richard Weigel opened the discussion by saying in the past 48 hours district officials, including himself, have talked about safety with other superintendents, held a central office meeting and sent letters to parents.
“This tragedy has hit all of us very, very deeply,” Weigel said.
The district has assembled a team of staff members to look at ways to improve safety, he told the board.
Lewis Evans, director of operations, has been tabbed with evaluating building safety, while Rich Klemm, director of nontraditional education, is looking at ways to improve communication inside and outside the district. Ron Hein, technology director, is looking at how technology can improve student safety, and Diane Curry, Southside principal and crisis team leader, is reviewing the district’s crisis plan.
“It’s a great team effort to look at what we are doing, what we should do and what we can enhance,” Weigel said.
Board member Michael Waldron said the district’s students, teachers and staff need to do a good job of reporting anyone making threats of violence.
“That needs to be followed up right away and not to be set off to the side,” Waldron said.
Tammy Tallis-Crowner, principal at Eastside Connections, said her school has cameras aimed at both doors and a buzz-in system so staff knows whom they are letting inside.
Evans said most buildings do not have the camera buzz-in system.
“We are currently in the process of establishing a baseline, so we can understand what all our buildings have and don’t have,” Evans said. “We know we are deficient in some areas, but we do well in other areas.”
Robin Hadrick, principal of Niles High, said she’s set aside money for additional cameras that would cover blind spots in the high school’s camera system. She said the video goes to a security office and to the school’s liaison officer.
Hadrick also said the school receives incident reports that are followed up by the liaison officer and school officials.
“We get at least a couple every week,” she said.
Board member Greg O’Toole said it would take an entire community to keep students safe.
“We have to be diligent, we have to be vigilant on what is going on within our communities and being in touch with our families, kids and neighbors,” O’Toole said. “We can try and harden our locations, but the long and short of it is there’s not enough money anywhere to harden our facilities to protect them completely.”
Tags: Niles Community Schools