Today marks the one-month anniversary of the Connecticut shootings, a tragedy that has seen the City of Jeffersonville and the Greater Clark County Schools work closely to improve school safety.
“There can be no guarantee that something like Sandy Hook can’t happen locally,” said Greater Clark County Schools Superintendent Dr. Andrew Melin. “But we can take steps to make our schools safer and our community stronger. We are looking at everything we can do to make our schools safer. Representatives from our school district have met several times with local law enforcement and fire representatives since the shooting in Connecticut. We have reviewed the district’s existing crisis plan to determine ways to make improvements.”
“Our department has met with school administrators to brainstorm ways to improve safety,” said Jeffersonville Police Chief Chris Grimm. “They have been very receptive to our suggestions. Several measures have already been taken that are tightening up security at school buildings.”
Some of those changes have already occurred. All school buildings are now equipped with A-phone/buzzer systems and visitors are required to identify themselves before they are allowed admittance. Meanwhile, teachers are required to keep their classroom doors closed and locked while students are in class.
While the school corporation is looking at other ways to tighten security, Jeffersonville officials have been working with school administrators for active shooter drills at the schools. Jeffersonville Police have access to all school buildings, and are visiting each school on a daily basis.
“Our officers feel that what the school system is doing helps out a great deal and helps them prepare for a shooter event,” said Grimm. “By having a greater presence at the schools, our police are taking a proactive approach to school safety.”
With the help of the Jeffersonville police and fire departments, the school system conducted an intruder drill on January 9, 2013. Police and fire officials were assigned to each school for observations and evaluations of the drills. “These drills gave us an excellent opportunity to determine how each school building is prepared in the event there was an intruder,” said Grimm. “Our officers got a first-hand look at the existing security measures. There can always be improvement and changes. We then met with schools officials to go over our findings and recommendations.”
“It’s important that we continue to have a strong partnership with our schools,” said Jeffersonville Mayor Mike Moore. “Parents deserve to know that their children are safe. The city is supporting the school system by providing them the resources necessary to improve safety. We have an obligation to keep our schoolchildren safe.”