D161 Continues Post-Sandy Hook Security Discussions
The Summit Hill School Board addressed safety-related topics such as messaging software, background checks, lockdown permissions, security levels and building entry accessibility at a meeting on Wednesday.
The board voted to approve a contract for new emergency messaging software within the district.
The new system, which cost approximately $5,100, will allow district officials to issue security notifications via phone and to send messages to specific groups. The software will be in place and operating within the next two weeks.
The board also discussed using software by Raptor Technologies to conduct background checks on district visitors. The software was recently implemented into day-to-day security procedures in Summit Hill’s neighboring school district, District 157-C.
However, some board members expressed hesitancy regarding the Raptor system. Board President Mary Kenny noted that often people who commit violent or disruptive acts in schools do not have a criminal history.
“It’s almost impossible to protect children from everything,” said Board Member Stacey Borgens.
Superintendent Barb Rains noted that district administration has also discussed implementing a system that would allow any staff member to call for a lockdown.
Rains announced at Wednesday’s meeting that the district recently established three security levels in an effort to create clarity regarding safety procedures.
The first level, “community alert,” will be used to refer to incidents where outdoor recess and classes may be canceled and parents receive a notification, but there is no imminent danger.
“Stay in Place,” the second level, will refer to an internal district issue where students are required to stay in one area for a short period of time.
“Lockdown,” the third level, means that students are in imminent danger that has been reported by first responders.
“The soft lockdown and hard lockdown just were confusing people,” said Rains, of the previous security classifications.
Board Vice President Joy Murphy proposed on Wednesday that the board consider adding a second buzzer to district building entrances. In addition to a security clearance buzzer at the external door to the front office, Murphy would like a buzzer to be added to the door between the administrative office and the classroom area of each school.
Also during the meeting, Will County Detective Sergeant Duane Davis was presented with a Standing Ovation Award.
“Thank you so much for keeping us safe,” said Rains.
The award was given as a way to recognize Davis’ assistance to the district during the last week of classes in December. Immediately following the Sandy Hook shootings, the district was simultaneously forced to address two escaped convicts in the community and the emotional aftermath when a district parent was charged with the murder of his wife.
“He’s been there for us at every turn,” said Kenny.
Get news alerts and Facebook updates from these Lincoln-Way Patch sites: