Lockport Union-Sun & Journal Online

January 10, 2013

Lockport City School District taking a look at security

BY JOE OLENICK
Lockport Union-Sun & Journal

Lockport Union-Sun & Journal — In light of recent tragedies, the Lockport City School District is being proactive with its security measures.

Since the Newtown, Conn. tragedy last month, the district has been reviewing security policies and procedures, said Superintendent Michelle T. Bradley. And the Board of Education’s facilities committee did a recent walkthrough at Lockport High School with law enforcement, said Trustee Thomas Fiegl.

“There’s a lot of things we can do right away,” he said.

One such thing is putting building maps and district contact numbers in each police vehicle, Fiegl told Board of Education members. Law enforcement also took a very long look at the main entrance of Lockport High School.

That’s where once a person is buzzed into the building and enters, they can go anywhere, Fiegl said. One possible solution is to relocate the school resource officer’s office near the entrance.

The discussion Wednesday involved the use of metal detectors, something a few members thought could become cumbersome in the morning when students arrived in the morning. Athletic events could be a major problem too.

But don’t rule the metal detectors out yet, Trustee Anthony Molinaro said.

Trustee Diane Phelps suggested having students involved. Often, it’s the kids that know what’s going on.

“Students are our best security,” Phelps said.

Bradley said the district is looking at engaging students about security. That includes explaining why they shouldn’t allow unknown people into the school building.

Board President John Linderman said both the policy and facilities committees would continue the security discussion. More information and recommendations would be coming to the board, he said.

Input is also welcome, Fiegl added.

Bradley said a security audit of the district’s policies and procedures will take place in the near future.

Board members are also looking at a possible capital project. The work would address items that need to be fixed, as per a state mandated building condition survey, but was left off the district’s last project approved by voters in 2011.

The proposed project would look at technology and security upgrades as well. Board members would also look at kitchen services throughout the district. Very early estimates have the proposed project at $27 to $28 million, about a quarter of which were contingency costs, but it’s possible not every item will make it to the final version, Linderman said.

The facilities committee will bring back details, he said.

District officials plan on more discussion at a future meeting. The project will come without additional cost to taxpayers, officials said.