Thursday, July 24, 2014
School is out for another few weeks, but safety improvements are underway to keep kids safe once they return.
Berkeley County School District Safety and Security Officer Tim Knight said this is the time of year where the district’s crisis manual is updated from lessons learned the previous year, and physical safety improvements continue without children in class.
“I don’t ever want to get complacent with safety so we’re always looking to improve,” Knight said. “All of those physical components are going to be really good and then you add in the training aspects.”
The first day of school is Tuesday, Aug. 19.
During last school year, the district ran hundreds of lockdowns and two large-scale, multi-agency drills.
“The biggest thing we learned is we need to improve our training for our administrators and teachers, and that’s what we look to improve upon this year,” Knight said. “Along with updated crises procedure manual, we still need to update training … We need to make sure our teachers and administrators know what our procedures are and implement those effectively.”
The last year wasn’t marred by any large incidents. The last safety threat to Berkeley County students came during spring 2013 when two women allegedly took a child from Westview Primary. The child was ultimately returned safely to her guardians. The abduction stemmed from a custody dispute.
“We didn’t have anything that would rise to that level this year,” Knight said.
This coming school year, much of the training will be focused on lockdown procedures and implementing new visitor monitoring systems that electronically monitor all visitors and scan for police records across all 50 states.
Additionally, the last five schools in the district will have “store fronts” finished.
“They should all be completed by beginning of the school year,” Knight said. “The main job that they do is restrict access to the school once you make it through the main entrance. It forces visitors into the main office area.”