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Kids or criminals

By Lisa Brody
News Editor
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Visitors, including parents, at all local districts are required to be buzzed into the main entrance, and then go to the office where they are signed in and directed to the appropriate location.

Today, by state law, districts have to incorporate lockdown drills along with other emergency drills. Grein said there must be a minimum of five fire drills, two tornado drills, and three lock-down/shelter-in-place drills, per school.

"We work with our local police departments. They check us to make sure we'e doing the proper procedures," Wilkinson said.

Wilkinson said that a lock-down drill leaves students literally locked down in their classrooms. "They cannot use hallways, and they have to stay away from doors and windows. An example is an intruder in a building, or an active shooter situation.

"Then there is a closed campus, when there is an issue in the adjoining neighborhood," she said, a situation the district has instituted a few times, such as when there was a concern about a threat of an individual locking up a realtor in a home near Pierce Elementary School with a gun.

"In a closed campus situation, no one can leave and no one can come into the building, but they're still attending classes," Wilkinson explained. "They cancel outdoor recess and outside lunch (for high school students), but otherwise, everything is normal. The students are going about their usual business."

Thankfully, so far there has not been an active shooter, or other situation necessitating a lock-down at any local schools. But they're prepared. "An active shooter situation is radically different than a fire or tornado. There is no time. It's seconds – not minutes. With a fire or tornado, there's potential for harm, and it's dangerous, but you can avoid catastrophe. With an active shooter – it's imminent," said Good. "With a fire, there's about three to five minutes, and with tornadoes, we're watching the weather service for hours, getting alerts, talking to people on the phone, so we can prepare. We have plans in place and time on our side. The active shooter situation is totally different. You're talking about totally unpredictable situations."

She said that is why they work with local police, and have hired a district safety and security officer who is a Bloomfield Township police officer, Cory Donberger, working in a shared position with the police department. "His main responsibility is to oversee all of the district's safety and security matters," she said, noting that one of the first things Donberger has done since being hired was to implement a visitor sign in process. "Visitors come in, get an authorization badge, and sign in so we know who is in the building at all times," Good said. "We're the education experts, not safety experts. It's why Cory was hired. He has extensive training in all security measures. Our superintendent Rob Glass sat down with chief of police (Geof Gaudard) and said, 'What can we do to be better prepared?' Cory has helped us with other things as well."

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