Carroll County Public School Superintendent Steve Guthrie sent an email to school system parents Tuesday outlining increased security initiatives in response to concerns sparked by the Sandy Hook school shootings.
"Schools are intentionally designed to be open and welcoming to the public as are our policies and school procedures," Guthrie wrote in the email. "Without major renovation our buildings cannot be transformed into fortress-like structures that will keep our children safe from those whose sole intent is to do them harm. The reality is that no matter what we put into place, I cannot guarantee the safety of any child in school from a Sandy Hook Elementary type event."
But Guthrie said that, after meeting with staff and local law enforcement officials, the school system will launch the following initiatives as soon as possible in an effort to tighten security.
He added that some of these items will require an additional allocation of funds from the county commissioners.
- Install a controlled, buzzer/camera entrance at each school where needed.
- Lock all other exterior doors – allow only key card access at selected doors.
- Continue to conduct lock-down drills at each school for students and staff.
- Provide "active shooter" training to school-based administration and staff.
- Ask each principal to review school security procedures on a regular basis at staff meetings.
- Consistently enforce the requirement for each school contracted employee to display their identification badge while on duty.
- Require each school to issue badges for temporary employees that are date specific.
- Develop a community communication protocol for principals to use when a threat is made to an individual school.
- Enter into communications with local law enforcement agencies to facilitate an "Adopt a School" program that will increase a police presence at our schools.
- Continue to encourage students to inform a school staff member or parent if they are aware of threats to the school or individual students.
Guthrie said that there are already surveillance cameras at most schools in both interior and exterior locations that can be viewed 24 hours per day on or off site by both school and central office personnel. They system is configured to be compatible with local police departments so that, with permission, they can access each school's camera network. By the end of the year, Guthrie said surveillance cameras will be installed in all schools.
"Cameras alone will not protect our students," Guthrie said. "Should the need arise, they will allow for a more efficient and effective communication with law enforcement."
Guthrie said the school system continues to look at other security measures and take into consideration suggestions made by community members.
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