School districts add security following Connecticut shootings
This is the area at Clarendon Hills Middle School into which visitors gain entry through an unlocked door from outside the building, before being buzzed into the school office. | Chuck Fieldman—Sun-Times Media
Updated: March 25, 2013 1:17AM
OAK BROOK — Two local elementary school districts have taken steps to increase building security/safety following the December school shootings in Connecticut.
Both Butler Elementary District 53 and Hinsdale-Clarendon Hills Elementary District 181 have extensive crisis plans that have been designed in close cooperation with local police and fire departments. Both districts also meet on a regular basis with local police and fire personnel to discuss school safety and security.
However both districts have made a few changes in the past month or so.
Changes in Butler 53 include a restricted access for all visitors to its two school buildings, including during after-school activities.
“We have made a number of changes that we cannot discuss publicly,” Superintendent Sandy Martin said. “Everything we are doing is to ensure that if we are ever faced with the unexpected, we will be as prepared and ready as possible.”
In District 181, a double-buzzer building entry system will be added at all schools. That will require visitors to be buzzed into the building and again into the school office. Currently, visitors can enter school buildings from outside through unlocked doors and then must be buzzed into the school office. Cameras will be installed so that office staff can see who is seeking entry into the building before buzzing that person inside.
Also, the number of lockdown drills completed during each school year has been increased to three from one in each building. And a system is to be installed that will improve communication during emergency situations.
“We are always discussing ways to keep our students, teachers and staff as safe as possible,” Superintendent Renee Schuster said.
She said the District 181 Board also will consider the purchase of systems for each building that allow for the scanning of drivers licenses of visitors and issuance of a printed visitor’s pass sticker. Hinsdale Central uses such a security system.