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10/18/2013 12:14:00 PM Email this articlePrint this article 
Red Hill board looking at additional steps to ensure student safety
BRIDGEPORT - Student safety is a big concern for school districts around the nation and an area the Red Hill Unit 10 school district takes seriously.

During Thursday's monthly meeting, the board approved its annual safety plan. Approval of the plan came after a meeting with law enforcement, fire department officials and Lawrence County Emergency Management Agency personnel.

Superintendent Matt Seaton said the district has upgraded its security considerably over the past few years, not only by some building changes, but also by practices and procedures.

Just a couple of recent additions have been locking interior classroom doors during the day and the use of name badges.

There is also a law enforcement presence in the buildings on a regular basis.

"We're very fortunate to have very supportive law enforcement - Scott Murray here locally in Bridgeport, and we have Travis Trainer now as the new chief in Sumner, and then of course the sheriff's office has always been a great support to us," Seaton said. "We have those folks in our buildings frequently, in uniform, walking through. They do have a presence here and the students know that there is a presence here, which is a great deterrent in itself."

At Thursday's meeting the board discussed the "active shooter" scenario, and things that can be done to ensure the safety of students in the event that such an incident were to happen.

"One of the options we are going to look at is potentially installing some type of building-wide alarm system that would work much like a fire system, where you pull a box and it would alert everybody in the building to shelter in place in the event of somebody coming on property with a weapon or something that would be an immediate threat to student safety," Seaton said.

Trent Masterson, a board member and member of the Lawrence County Sheriff's Department, said the alarm system is a new practice and not very many schools have it.  

The district will also be conducting active shooter drills.

"We have a new law in Illinois this year where we have to do an active shooter drill in every one of our school buildings annually," Seaton said. "We have to do it in conjunction with local law enforcement. So, we will likely do some with teachers in the building, and maybe even some without anybody in the building, and we're still investigating the idea of actually doing it with students in a building, just to create that real scenario that if this does happen how are we going to manage our students in the event of a true emergency."





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