Aurora school leaders update security in buildings

by MIKE LESKO | REPORTER Published:

Aurora -- School leaders have upgraded safety district-wide with a list of new procedures.

"The safety of our students is one of our top priorities," Superintendent Russ Bennett said. "Keeping our children safe is a task that all of us must take ownership of."

Some procedures involve physical changes in the buildings. Also, parents are being asked to make changes in their routines. (See story on Page 14.)

All the changes were approved by the Aurora Board of Education and school administration.

"We have all enjoyed the open-door policy Aurora has offered in the past, but it is now time to ensure there is a safety balance," Bennett said. "We ask that you understand, embrace and support the necessary changes being made in the spirit of insuring our students are safe and secure."

The changes follow recent school shootings in Newtown, Conn., and Chardon.

About 1 1/2 years ago, Aurora schools trained its staff and students for what is called ALICE (Alert, Lockdown, Inform, Counter and Evacuate).

"This protocol is used in the most serious situations, such as that of a shooter," Bennett said.

In February, substitutes, both teaching and support staff, will receive ALICE training as well.

Bennett outlined physical changes at the buildings.

• Security buzzer systems will be required for access.

"Some of our buildings have buzzer systems inside a first set of doors or in an airlock, while others have allowed visitors access into the airlock but only allow someone to go directly to the office," Bennett said. "Our new protocol, when our new technology gets installed, will be that all visitors will be required to speak to a secretary from outside the building. The air phone system, or buzzer system, will be mounted on an outside wall, requiring people to press a button and not only speak, but also allow the secretary visual confirmation of the visitor."

• The district will add cameras in areas that may not be as well covered by current cameras. Also, security cameras will be added to the few remaining school buses that do not have them, he said.

"These security cameras are not for public viewing, but are used with parents only if special circumstances arise," Bennett said. "The building cameras are accessible by our police department 24/7 and allow for viewing immediately upon a crisis."

• The district will have two-way radios that communicate directly with the police department in case of an emergency.

"Shortly, all administrators will be required to carry these radios so that at a 'moment's notice,' they can communicate directly with the police and other administrative and secretarial staff," Bennett said.

• The Board of Education is currently obtaining quotes for purchase and installation of 911 buzzers at each secretary's desk.

"With the push of a button, the police can be notified of a 911 emergency," Bennett said. "You can think of this as being similar to the technology that is implemented for use by tellers in a bank."

Email: mlesko@recordpub.com

Phone: 330-541-9400 ext. 4187

Want to leave your comments?

Sign in or Register to comment.