Authorities dealing with school safety
by Michele Longworth
Jan 16, 2013 | 686 views | 0 0 comments | 1 1 recommendations | email to a friend | print
Earlier in the school year employees of Massac County Sheriff Office makes the first stop at Metropolis Primary School to meet with pre-kindergarten and kindergarten students, talk to them about making choices and pass out Willie Bears.  On Wednesday, Jan. 30 at 1 p.m. the sheriff’s department will be at the Metropolis Elementary School for Sheriff Willy Bear. About 80 Bears will be given out to students on that visit.                    — Planet photo by Michele Longworth
Earlier in the school year employees of Massac County Sheriff Office makes the first stop at Metropolis Primary School to meet with pre-kindergarten and kindergarten students, talk to them about making choices and pass out Willie Bears. On Wednesday, Jan. 30 at 1 p.m. the sheriff’s department will be at the Metropolis Elementary School for Sheriff Willy Bear. About 80 Bears will be given out to students on that visit. — Planet photo by Michele Longworth
slideshow
Since the Newtown, Conn. school shooting, many peoples’ thoughts have centered on school safety. Massac Unit One Superintendent Bill Hatfield said at the December Unit One board meeting school safety was a topic of discussion, but points out no district’s school safety plan could ever account for a deranged shooter, as was the situation with the Newtown shooting.

Following the massacre, Massac County Sheriff Ted Holder told Massac County’s commissioners the Sheriff’s department had increased their presence at the schools they patrol.

According to Holder, for the past several months he has been sending one deputy to the four elementary schools on a random basis everyday at lunchtime just to interact with the kids.

Hatfield points out Unit One’s school safety/crisis plan encompasses various aspects, including stranger danger and abduction prevention as well as natural disasters and even includes information if there were to be a chemical or radioactive release from Honeywell.

Massac County High School Principal Jason Hayes said the high school’s emergency plan also has information in it regarding what to do if an airplane falls out of the sky on the building.

Hatfield pointed out in 2012 Unit One spent well over $100,000 replacing door locks and doors at several of the district’s schools, especially in the older buildings. In addition to that, the district has also been replacing door locks and re-keying interior doors.

Hayes notes every exterior door at the high school has been replaced and each door costs a few thousand dollars apiece.

According to Hatfield, each year the district is required to hold various drills and that is something that is done at each attendance center.

When school started back after the Christmas and New Year holidays, Holder said the department would also start going to the schools every morning while the kids unload and again in the afternoon when they leave,

“But I do not have enough deputies working to cover every school all the time so this also will be on a random schedule, 2-3 in the morning and 2-3 in the afternoon,” said Holder.

The Sheriff's office takes care of Unity, Jefferson, Franklin and Maple Grove elementary schools and Joppa High School. “Joppa only has a part time officer that is why we include it,” said Holder.

At the present time Brookport has a couple of full-time officers with usually one on duty during the day, but we will still respond to it automatically.

According to Holder, both he and Metropolis Police Chief Harry Masse have had meetings with Unit One administration to discuss school safety issues.

Metropolis Police Chief Harry Masse explains the Metropolis Police Department has one car that goes to Metropolis Elementary School at the beginning and end of the school day. “We have another car that goes to the high school and junior high school at the same time,” he said.

According to Massac County High School Principal Jason Hayes, there has been a police presence at the high school for awhile now, pointing out city officers are there three out of the five days during the week during the morning and afternoon, mainly for traffic control. But, Hayes said Metropolis Officer Joe Basham comes to the high school several times throughout the school year, unannounced to sweep the halls with the drug dog.

-- To read the entire article online, please subscribe to the Planet's e-Edition --
Weather
Find more about Weather in Metropolis, IL
Sponsored By:
Beaus Blog Logo
Read Beau's Daily Analysis
METROPOLIS PLANET GOOGLE ANALYTICS CODE - SINGLE DOMAIN