Decorah District taking steps to improve school security
Wednesday, January 16, 2013 2:36 AM
In an emergency, the best a school district can do is make sure people know how to respond when something happens.
That was according to Decorah School Board Vice President Ron Fadness, during a discussion about school security Monday evening.
The discussion centered around installing additional security measures at Carrie Lee Elementary, the only District school for which visitors entering the building are not required to walk through or past an office.
At Carrie Lee, visitors enter the building onto a landing and must walk upstairs to the second floor or downstairs to the first floor, where the office is located.
Haluska said District Buildings and Grounds Director Greg Schaller is checking into installing a camera outside the entrance door and having the door locked so visitors would have to "buzz" in for entry.
"It's not particular cost-prohibitive and could buy us quite a bit of security," said Haluska.
The Board discussed installing "lock-down" capabilities at John Cline or West Side as well, whereby all school doors could be locked by pushing a button.
"As we look into potential remodels, we can sure get figures on that," he said.
Board President Melanie Tietz encourages Haluska to get input from administrators at each building about their entry doors.
Further discussion was had about each building having a "panic button" staff could press in an emergency.
"I think with all the fiber we're putting it, that might be something that could serve us well," said Fadness.
"We can look into that," said Haluska.
Board Member Brian Petersburg cautioned the Board about taking security "too far."
"I we have a phone, we can dial 911, he said.
Tietz added, "I just think it's a good time to review emergency and safety procedures, and see if there are any gaps. If there are gaps that are easily identified, let's fix them."
Haluska said he is meeting with Police Chief Bill Nixon this Friday.
"We're bringing him to an administrative team meeting so we can put our heads together," he said.
District Technology Coordinator Kurt DeVore said he is meeting with a security representative on Monday.
"Just go and get that done as quickly as you can," added Tietz.