School Officials Seek FBI Input on District Safety
Port Washington-Saukville School officials plan to discuss updating building safety within the district as well as revisiting strategies for dealing with an emergency at a Building and Grounds Committee meeting on Monday.
Port Washington-Saukville School administrators are actively pursuing their commitment to revisiting the district's safety policies and security after tragedy shook an elementary school in a Newtown, CT, in December.
At a School Board meeting on Monday, Superintendent Michael Weber told attendees that an FBI official made a recent visit to the district to conduct a walk through at schools and make suggestions to tighten security. The FBI official visited all elementary schools and Thomas Jefferson Middle School on Wednesday, he said, and will visit Port Washington High School this week.
"Every school is looking at and (discussing) in what ways our schools (need to be safer)," Weber said. Administrators have also met several times since the school shooting on Dec. 14, "reinforcing, making sure we're following procedures that we have in place."
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A quick temporary security enhancement being considered is adding a buzzer system to the entrance of all schools, he said. Currently, the main door nearest the office is left open during school hours.
In the long term, the district may consider some remodels to the main entrance to enhance security — and officials said such changes will not be deterred by cost.
"Whether we get the (federal tax relief) or not, we'll be implementing some things (from these safety suggestions)," Weber said.
The district has also increased the number of lockdown drills conducted at the schools, and the high school recently completed a "successful" lockdown exercise with law enforcement on scene to watch and critique the procedures.
Weber also hopes to participate in table top exercises to help coordinate effective safety procedures, something suggested by law enforcement several years ago when staff participated in an emergency training exercise with law enforcement.
"We learned a lot from that (emergency training)," he said. "During that time, we remembered them talking to us about doing a table top exercise and how valuable that could be."
The building and grounds committee will meet at 5:30 p.m. Monday, and safety issues in the district will be on the agenda.