The events of Sandy Hook have reinforced the need for all of us to be vigilant in finding ways to protect ourselves and our loved ones. The responsibilities for those of us charged with school safety are enormous and we do not take them lightly. I am pleased to report that we continue to benefit from the strong collaborative relationship our district has always had with our local safety forces. We have had very productive meetings over the past several months during which we have reviewed and updated safety plans and procedures. Training has been occurring to ensure that the staff in each building understands their roles and responsibilities as part of the district’s safety plan.
We have been working closely with a local architectural firm to develop plans for the redesign of the entry areas of all district facilities. With plans nearly complete, we will soon begin the process of changing the way parents and visitors enter our schools. Woodridge High School will see the biggest changes. Soon, the High School Administrative Office will be moved to the current Guidance Office inside the main entrance of the High School. The Guidance Offices will be relocated to the current Administrative Office area. A new entry door equipped with a security “buzzer” system will be installed that will restrict access to the building by forcing entry through the office area. Woodridge Middle School will see a new entry door with a security “buzzer” system installed that will force visitors to enter the building directly into the office area. Woodridge Intermediate School, Woodridge Primary School, and the Board of Education Office will have new security “buzzer” systems installed on the entry doors which already restrict access to the main office areas.
Additional safety features including cameras tied directly into the local police and fire computer systems and newly keyed entry areas for staff will enable us to better control access to our schools. While it is impossible to completely prevent tragic events from happening, we continue to work to erect “barriers” that may deter anyone wishing to do harm to our students or staff. While there will be some cost for these upgrades, we believe the costs are justified and necessary in light of the needs we have for more contemporary safety and security systems.
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