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No action was taken, but officials agreed that any decisions, such as card entry systems or panic buttons, would mean reshuffling priorities.
Tuesday, April 30, 2013
Installation of card entry systems, panic buttons and a storefront at Andrew Lewis Middle School were among the additional school security measures discussed by Salem officials Tuesday.
The Salem City Council and Salem School Board held a joint meeting Tuesday to hear recommendations formed after a school safety review committee convened earlier this year to look at safeguards in Salem City Schools.
No action was taken, and specific costs were not outlined, but officials said additional safety protocols will mean prioritizing projects in the future and potentially deferring some items.
Superintendent Alan Seibert said that a "proximity card" entry system for buildings could likely come out of the school district's capital reserve, but it "may push things down the list."
Assistant Superintendent Mike Bryant said he anticipates getting cost estimates on the card system and panic buttons this week.
Several school systems in the Roanoke Valley have turned an eye to additional security measures in the wake of the December shootings at Sandy Hook Elementary School in Newtown, Conn., where a gunman killed 26 people and himself.
Most recently Roanoke County education officials opted in March to begin negotiations for work on a new computerized card access system for the division's buildings that would monitor and control who enters.
Salem's safety review also proposed numbering doors and entrances at all schools, establishing a crisis training module for all new employees, particularly those hired in the middle of the year, and making changes to Salem High School's entry when it is remodeled.
In addition to physical changes to schools, Seibert also talked about having a tiered response to school safety.
According to a draft of the school system's safety review, elementary and secondary schools would each have different protocols in place based on several different levels of security.
For elementary and secondary schools, Level 0 would have main entrances open and would be in place at the start and end of school days and during open houses or athletic events.
For elementary schools, Level 1 would be in place during the school day and direct visitors to enter the office. For secondary schools, Level 1 would have someone supervising a designated entrance.
For elementary schools, Level 2 would heighten security during the school day by making visitors use a buzzer system to gain entrance to the front office or core of the building. For secondary schools, Level 2 would secure the main entrance with a buzzer system and/or security guard or school resource officer.
Level 3 would constitute a lockdown where no entry is authorized except for law enforcement for both elementary and secondary schools.
"There's been talk of buzzing in everyone all the time," Seibert said, but noting that even after the recent school violence, schools are still the safest place for children to be. "We want the physical barriers but still want people to come and participate."
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