In the Aftermath of the Tragedy in Newtown, Connecticut.
The physical and mental safety and security of students and staff members are top priorities in the Ladue School District. Unfortunately, school districts around the country were recently reminded how unexplainable, horrible tragedies, such as the one that took place at Sandy Hook Elementary School in Newtown, CT on Friday, December 14, 2012, can occur despite every effort made to secure a school building.
The Ladue School District, like all other schools around the country, both public and private, will use this as a reminder of how very important it is to be diligent in keeping schools secure and to continue exploring ways to improve security wherever possible.
Thank You to Our Law Enforcement Officials
The Ladue School District publicly extends our sincere thanks to law enforcement officials in the cities of Creve Coeur, Ladue and Olivette. These police forces have been even more visible than usual at our school buildings recently and have vowed their continued support as we all work together to further enhance our security procedures.
Security Systems Around the District
All elementary and middle schools in the district have utilized external security doors for many years, requiring employees to use security cards for entry and for visitors to be “buzzed in” after having identified themselves through a security camera and intercom system.
- The district employs five supervisory assistants at the high school, as well as a School Resource Officer, who is stationed at the high school. The sole responsibilities of these individuals are student and staff safety.
- There are more than 200 surveillance cameras positioned throughout the schools which can be monitored by administrators and supervisory assistants in each building, as well as by the School Resource Officer.
- 125 two-way radios are used throughout the day across the district to coordinate and communicate regarding student and staff safety and other needs.
Ramping Up After the Sandy Hook Incident
Beginning the Monday morning following the incident at Sandy Hook Elementary School, the high school also began utilizing the outside security doors throughout the school day, locking all doors to the school at the ringing of the first bell. The district had plans underway to institute this change at the beginning of the 2013-14 school year, but made the decision over the weekend following the shootings to institute these procedures immediately. In addition to making these immediate changes at the high school, there is also discussion of expediting enhanced security measures in the high school parking lots.
The Board of Education and administration will no doubt be reviewing safety and security procedures in the coming weeks. Recently, the Ladue Schools administrator in charge of safety, Assistant Superintendent Dr. Jason Buckner, was asked by a local television station on camera if arming school personnel was being considered. Given there are both strong proponents and opponents to this type of measure, Dr. Buckner responded it could become part of the discussion. However, during the interview, there was no indication given the district’s administrators or the Board had taken a position on this issue or that classroom teachers might become involved in any way.