Archive for Friday, December 14, 2012

Lawrence schools trained for crisis management

December 14, 2012


Lawrence schools did not take any special security precautions Friday in the wake of a mass shooting at a school in Connecticut, but Superintendent Rick Doll said the district does have plans in place to deal with such emergencies.

"Our hearts go out to those people and their families, but we didn't take any extra precautions," Doll said.

He said all of the district's schools have crisis management procedures in place, but he said there is little anyone could do to prevent the kind of violence that occurred in Newtown, Conn., where 27 people, including 18 children, died at an elementary school.

"We've got (crisis management plans), they're in place and we train people on them every year," Doll said. "The thing of it is: It doesn't matter what you say, it's impossible to say that we could have prevented anything like this."

Doll said he did not want to discuss specifics of those plans in the immediate aftermath of the Connecticut tragedy. But as an example, he said the district maintains an "intruder alert" system so all staff know what to do when an intruder comes into one of the schools.

Lawrence officials also are making plans to improve security, especially in elementary schools, as part a district wide building improvement plan that would be funded with a proposed bond issue.

Plans in several of the buildings call for redesigning entrances so visitors entering the building are immediately seen by office staff.

"The plan would be in most cases at our elementary schools, a visitor coming in after opening hours would enter and then go through the office where they would be greeted by an adult and given a visitor's badge, and then go into the building," Doll said.

The Lawrence school board will hold a special meeting Monday where members hope to finalize the list of projects that would be funded with the bond issue. They also hope to decide on a final amount they will ask voters to approve, which is likely to be between $85 million and $100 million.

Still, Doll said, there there is no guarantee that the security measures being planned could prevent tragedies such as Friday's mass shooting in Connecticut.

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