Otto: CASD Engaged in Improving School Security

CLEARFIELD – Given the events at Sandy Hook Elementary School in Connecticut, the Clearfield Area School District’s administrative staff has examined its security system and identified ways to improve the safety of its students and staff.

Superintendent Dr. Thomas B. Otto said the district is engaged in the following list of efforts and is keeping an “open mind” moving forward. He provided the following list to press members at the conclusion of Monday night’s committee meetings.

  • Met with Clearfield County District Attorney William A. Shaw Jr. as well as law enforcement in December of 2012.
  • Increased police presence at the district’s school buildings through patrols from the Lawrence Township and Clearfield Borough police departments and the Clearfield-based state police.
  • Posted signs in the district’s school buildings that state the district is a “No tobacco, alcohol, drugs, weapons zone.”
  • Decreased entrance areas at the Clearfield Area High School for its evening events.
  • Increased game workers and personnel and ordered clothing, so they’re more visible for after-school events.
  • Increased administrator and teacher visibility before and after school and in the hallways.
  • Presented high and middle school assemblies about school safety, in addition to communicating concerns and not allowing any persons into the building. There was emphasis placed on assistance and prevention of incidents, so that students know it’s OK to notify an authority if they’re worried about someone or an event to be investigated.
  • Updated the district’s Emergency Operations Handbook and disseminated it to the administrative team.
  • Met with area police forces and emergency management personnel to solicit advice and to review the Emergency Operations Handbook in January.
  • Instructed all teachers and school personnel to lock their classroom doors during instruction and any time the classroom is not in use.
  • Instructed all administrators to practice lockdown procedures and to review the protocol for lockdowns and school evacuations.
  • Re-examined the bomb threat protocol and planned different evacuation area scenarios.
  • Initiated an Emergency Response Summit to begin planning for schools and emergency responders in the area, so that they can meet and develop a county-wide model of information.
  • Initiated a school-based behavioral health program that involves Beacon Light to assist students and families.
  • Increased the security at the entrance vestibules in the high school and Clearfield Elementary renovation and expansion plans.
  • Contemplating the advantages and disadvantages of a school resource officer in all district buildings and whether or not this officer should be armed.
  • Contemplating a bullet proof glass in the vestibule areas and the approximate costs, in addition to difficult decisions regarding why all windows aren’t bullet proof.
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