By Jeff Gallatin
District and city police officials are continuing efforts to upgrade security at Bay school buildings in time for the 2013-2014 school year.
Superintendent Clint Keener told school board members last week that a full-time employee will monitor people at the Normandy School entrance in the 2013-2014 school year. In addition, the district is adding cameras at all district buildings to monitor activity on school property.
Keener told the board the district also has in place magnetic locks at all school buildings, which require someone on the inside to let people from the outside in after school begins. Keener said the district also has asked architects working on the renovations being done throughout the district as part of the capital improvements bond levy passed by city voters in November 2012 to look for ways additional building security can be incorporated into the work.
In addition, both Keener and Bay Village City Police Detective Kevin Krolkosky, who works with the district on security at the schools, said additional security training for both the district and police department staff is planned in the next few months.
Keener said Friday the additional measures are “unfortunately” needed in contemporary society.
“Given relatively recent events like the shootings at Chardon and in Sandy Hook, Conn., as well as ones at schools before that ,we’re not taking chances with the security of the children and people who are in our district schools,” Keener said. “It’s unfortunately become something which all school districts have to be aware of and have plans and preparations for reacting to if they have an incident in their district.”
Keener said the decision was made to have the full-time employee at Normandy because of the specific nature of that academic building.
“We’ll have our youngest students there,” he said. “We feel we have to have even stronger precautions there because of that. We want to have as strong a security as we can there.”
Referring to the additional cameras, the emphasis on the building locks and the review of the buildings by the architects, Keener said police and school personnel would decide the best locations for the additional equipment.
“We’ll review everything with the police and decide upon the best possible locations,” he said. “We want the new security facilities located where they can do the best possible good in terms of security.”
He cited a strong relationship between the schools and city police as enhancing the ability to protect district students and workers.
Krolkosky said the police and district are working together to be prepared for different potential problems.
“You have to remember these buildings were designed as academic buildings for education. They’re not fortresses and weren’t intended to be,” he said. “Given that, we’re still working very hard with the district to make sure the schools and grounds are as secure as possible.”
Krolkosky said in addition to the work on the district facilities, those preparations include regular meetings, discussions, tests and training.
“We try and take a proactive approach,” he said. “We hold regular meetings and discuss what we can do. And we have met after incidents such as the one in Connecticut to consider where we are.”
Keener and Krolkosky noted that the police department also checks school facilities at various times.
‘They’ve even sent officers and people to see how far they can get into the schools,” Keener said. “They do a good job of seeing where we are.”
Krolkosky noted the different measures help the police and district be ready for possible problems.
“We try to consider different situations,” he said. “We did some of that in our active shooter on the grounds training last year as well. We’re planning to have additional discussions as well as more specific training again in the fall. We will be staying current in our preparations.”