Duluth Public Schools Part 2: Evaluating Building Security and Safety Procedures

Updated: May 15, 2018 09:55 AM

After the school shooting in Parkland, Florida, many schools across the country began to evaluate the security and safety of schools and what could be done to improve them.

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In the Northland, Duluth Public Schools are evaluating their procedures and security in response to the tragedy.  Assistant Superintendent Amy Starzecki said for the most part the facilities are relatively new.

"When we had built our facilities, they had pretty upgraded safety structures," Starzecki said.  "I know Governor Dayton is looking at some potential money to be able to upgrade some of those.  I don't know if that will go to all schools or some schools that don't have some of the facilities that we have." 

Starzecki said some other districts have made changes to safety procedures and how they practice drills and intruder drills and they're evaluating as well.

"Duluth Public Schools is looking at how those procedures may look and feel a little bit different in the future years and planning training for staff and students and what they might look like," Starzecki said.

Some parents have shared concerns about asking for A.L.I.C.E. training, which stands for Alert, Lockdown, Inform, Counter, Evacuate.  Even though some district administrators have done A.L.I.C.E. training, Starzecki said the district doesn't anticipate adopting A.L.I.C.E.

"We do anticipate changing some of our policies and procedures just in how we practice those drills to include certain aspects that are similar to ALICE," Starzecki said.  She also said they're working with local law enforcement as they plan what it will look like as they train staff and students. 

When it comes to checking visitors in, Starzecki said their procedures are pretty consistent. 

"They do have to check in at the front office, all of our front doors are locked, except for the front office,"  Starzecki said.  "We have had some folks ask if we will be changing our front door procedures, so that's something we're currently looking at as a district as to whether that front door will be locked or whether there will be a buzzer type system that you would need to access to come in to that front office."

Financial obstacles are something that could stand in the way of certain improvements like a buzzer system.

"The buzzer system for example, if Governor Dayton's bill does pass and we're able to access some dollars, then we look at a camera or a buzzer system," Starzecki said. 

She said they also will advocate for more mental health professionals in Duluth Public Schools.

"We know our students and families need more support and how can we provide that support for our families, so we're advocating for more people and the supports for our students," Starzecki said. 

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