Doors to Remain Locked in District 58 as Officials Consider Security Upgrades
A forum will be held with Downers Grove police and fire officials Feb. 6 to discuss extra security measures implemented after the shooting at Sandy Hook Elementary School.
The front doors to all school facilities in Downers Grove Grade School District 58 will remain locked as officials explore options for security upgrades in the coming months.
Following the school shooting last month in Newtown, CT, which killed 20 children and six adults, District 58 immediately locked the front doors of each building and installed temporary doorbell systems that ring the school office to alert staff of a visitor.
All front entrances were previously open and without a security guard.
During the District 58 school board meeting Jan. 14, Superintendent Kari Cremascoli said the board has a list of security improvements to consider moving forward, including the installation of security cameras, intercom systems and a remote locking feature. The district will also look into the possibility of installing a second set of locked doors.
"We've been taking a close look at our facilities for the past several years, and one of the things that has come to light during our facility analysis, and more recently as we responded to the tragedy in Newtown, is we've taken a closer look at our safety and security," Cremascoli said.
Recently, the district's buildings and maintenance directors participated in a county-wide discussion on school facilities, which reviewed the various measures schools have taken to improve safety and security.
"I'm proud to report that of the list that they came back with, most of those things were already in place in our district, and in many ways we are ahead of many others because we have been so vigilant in what we have enacted in terms of safety and security measures," Cremascoli said. "Partially because our front doors were not locked, we took extra measures to make sure that are staff was checking IDs and we had check-in procedures."
Other measures being considered include locked classroom doors, updated burglar alarms and swipe-key access.
Board members were generally in favor of discussing security upgrades, but some suggested that locking the doors may not get at the heart of the issue.
Board Member John Miller said schools and parents must do what they can to eliminate the "culture of violence" if they want to ensure public safety.
"These are things we can see and things that can make us feel good," Miller said of the security measures. "Let's lock the doors—that's great—but we have to solve the real problem."
District 58 will partner with Downers Grove police and fire departments for a community forum on school safety at 7 p.m. Feb 6 at Village Hall, 801 Burlington Ave.
"Presenters will share an overview of the numerous safety and security measures in place in District 58 schools, as well as interagency partnerships and our future considerations," said Jennie Waldorf, communications director for District 58.
Opportunities for feedback will be provided, Waldorf said.
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