Lawrence school board to hear update on safety, security

photo by: Nick Krug

Lawrence Public Schools district offices, 110 McDonald Drive.

A presentation on active shooter training, building security, mental health and social/emotional supports tops the Lawrence school board’s agenda for its Monday meeting.

According to a board agenda item, Ron May, district director of operations, and Jose Cornejo, mental health facilitator, will provide the board an update on safety and security plans, as the “2018-19 school year has been filled with safety concerns, statute changes and new funding opportunities.”

A presentation in the agenda says that 78% of Lawrence Public Schools and Boys & Girls Club staff have taken online ALICE training. The acronym stands for Alert, Lockdown, Inform, Counter, Escalate, and the training is widely used in schools, businesses, churches and governments nationwide. The presentation says all schools and programs have received on-site training, and that will continue annually.

Physical safety improvements are in progress, according to the presentation, including secure entrances at all schools and programs. For Lawrence High School, which has more than 20 entrances, district staff is working toward implementing student IDs with door access and formulating security plans as a major construction project is set to begin at the school this summer.

The district has received a $168,549 matching grant from the state for safety and security updates, according to the presentation, for a total of $337,098. That will cover security cameras and video management software, ALICE training and “go buckets” for classrooms, or kits that hold items to aid in emergency situations.

The presentation will also provide updates on Department of Homeland Security audits of schools, changes to crisis drills and Kansas State Department of Education supports for school security. The board will also hear about the district’s mental health teams; WRAP, or Working to Recognize Alternative Possibilities, a program that is coordinated with Bert Nash Community Mental Health Center; threat assessment and reintegration plans, and more.

In other business, the board will:

• Receive an update on the elementary counseling program and data about the number of students being served and the impact of the counseling support, since the district last year opted to place a full-time counselor in each of its 14 elementary schools, according to the agenda.

• Hear a report on the district’s two middle school interventionists who are tasked with taking a proactive role in supporting students and staff in areas such as classroom behaviors, improving achievement, watching for “red flags,” mentorship, some restorative practices and more.

• Consider a revised job description for the superintendent position. That is on the board’s consent agenda, meaning it will be considered with one vote along with several other routine items, unless a board member or the superintendent asks to pull an item for discussion.

The agenda item says the job description has not been updated for a number of years, and the Board Policy Committee proposes the updated description “that reflects the board’s expectations beyond the statutory requirements of the position.” It was not clear from the included draft what had changed.

The school board will meet at 6 p.m. Monday at district offices, 110 McDonald Drive. Agenda materials are available online via

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