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home : local news : local news

12/18/2012 3:42:00 PM Email this articlePrint this article 
School safety issues discussed at Unit 20 board meeting
LAWRENCEVILLE - As the nation mourns the Connecticut school tragedy that claimed 20 students and six adults, school districts across the nation are looking at ways to keep their students safe.

During the Unit 20 monthly school board meeting Monday night, board president Keith Weger asked for a moment of silence in deference to the shootings, which was followed by discussions and reports regarding security at the Lawrenceville attendance centers.

Unit 20 Superintendent Charles Stegall said the massacre is going to force all schools to take a hard look at school security.

"We review security constantly throughout the district, but I think we need to be even more stringent about it," Stegall said, noting one change will be made at Parkside immediately.

"We have an 'early bird' program which has (some) students arriving here at seven o'clock in the morning. From now on, instead of having them come into an open door to the west side of the building they are going to come into the circle drive in the front and be buzzed in. That's just one thing that we're going to implement, just for an extra element of safety," Stegall said.

Stegall said all three Unit 20 buildings are locked when school begins in the morning. All exteriors entrances are locked and the only way into the building is to come into the main entrance where people have to be buzzed in through a double set of doors.

Parkview and Lawrenceville High School have cameras situated at main doors. At Parkside, an office staff can view people coming into the building and talk to visitors before granting admission into the school.

"All three buildings are really going to be working hard at working with local law enforcement officials and taking a look at how can we can make things better and make it not only an exceptional learning environment for kids, but a safe and secure one as well," Stegall said.

In addition to the security questions, Unit 20 is also dealing with the emotional aspects of the tragedy.

Guidance counselors, social workers and other staff are available for any student who needs assistance in dealing with the emotions of the event.

There was a moment of silence at each attendance center to remember those who lost their lives. The school district will also fly all of its flags at half staff throughout the week.

"Late last night I put out a blog on our district website (CUSD20.com), basically an open letter to our parents and guardians regarding the children and coming back to the district, just basically just really loving on our kids."

IN OTHER BUSINESS:

- The board approved its annual tax levy. The total levy amount is $2,239,593.

The complete school board story can be found in Tuesday's Daily Record print edition





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