Plans to tighten security at St. Clair Junior High School temporarily have been put on hold, R-XIII school district Superintendent Mike Murphy said.
In December, Murphy said the district had planned to install a buzzer system at the front doors of the facility during the Christmas break that would allow admission only through a process that would require all visitors to be “buzzed in.” All outside doors would be locked.
“Material for the locks has not arrived,” Murphy told The Missourian this week.
Students and staff returned from winter break on Thursday.
Currently, the front doors at the junior high school are unlocked during the school day. The main office is located on the other side of the entryway near the cafeteria. As at all R-XIII schools, visitors are to report to the office immediately upon arrival.
Plans were made to change that process during the break. The new locks can be unlatched only through office personnel who would respond to the buzzer. A surveillance camera would allow staff to see and talk to visitors waiting outside the main doors.
Assistant Superintendent Mark Denbow also said the reason for the delay is that parts for the door “were delayed over the break.”
“When the system is installed, all doors in that facility will be locked,” he said. “During the school day, everyone will enter through the front doors. They will have to buzz in the front door after the start of school until school is out.”
Neither Murphy nor Denbow knew an exact timetable as to when the locks are scheduled to arrive or when the security update would occur.
The same entry system already exists at St. Clair Elementary School. At Edgar Murray, a similar procedure is in place.
At SCHS, the main doors are unlocked during the school day with visitors required to check with office personnel upon arrival. Some ideas have been tossed around on how to increase security there as well as in the several nearby buildings used by SCHS students and staff.
“The high school is a whole different animal,” Denbow said. “The safety committee will need to have a discussion on how we are going to tackle that situation.”
The assistant superintendent said the district already had plans in place to increase security at the junior high before the fatal shootings of 20 students and six adults took place at an elementary school in Newtown, Conn., last month.
“As far as this being in direct relation to Connecticut, it really is not and has been discussed before,” Denbow said. “However, that tragedy helped to expedite the change.”