Union public school officials say there are crisis plans at each school and administrators are always looking for ways to improve school security.
That was in response to last Friday’s shooting death of 20 boys and girls and six others at Sandy Hook Elementary School in Newtown, Conn.
“It’s certainly a tragic incident and our thoughts prayers go to the children, families and adults involved,” said Superintendent Steve Bryant, “but it is a reminder to us to pay attention to little things.”
“We do have good crisis plans already in place and even prior to Fridays incidents we have been studying to see how affective our plans are,” he added.
He said district administrators have sent a memo to school employees addressing the shooting and how it relates to the Union R-XI School District.
Bryant added that there likely are concerned parents, but few have been vocal.
“I think each of our principals have had a few comments to them,” he said. “It is a tragic event, so I know it gets everybody attention.”
The killing is the second deadliest school shooting in the United States, behind only the Virginia Tech massacre in 2007.
“The best thing that our staff can do is their job,” Bryant said. “The more we can move on as normal as possible, the better it is for our kids.”
However, there will be no immediate changes to safety plans within the district.
“We were concerned about child safety before this happened,” Bryant said. “We are always continuing to tweak and trying to improve our crisis and safety plans.”
All school doors are locked during school hours, and Bryant said there is a monitoring system in place at each school to better control who comes in and out of the buildings.
Staff members are asked to check doors to ensure they are locked.According to Bryant, the longrange facility plan includes for the inspection of doors at each building to ensure that they lock from the inside.
Those that don’t now will be kept locked, but open so teachers or student could enter a room and lock themselves in.
There have been courses at district school by Union police and Franklin County Sheriff’s deputies, to train in the event of an active shooter — a gunman who uses force on a person, and continues to have access to other potential victims.
Last year an active shooter course was held at Union High School.
During the courses, police utilize role players to be victims and gunmen in order train as similar as possible to a real active shooter situation.
Participants, including officers, use simunition rounds, which are small plastic shells.
The guns are actual service weapons that have been modified so they are unable to fire real rounds.There are two Union police school resource officers, Rod Tappe and Kevin Anderson, who often are in school buildings.
Bryant noted that he has meet with local law enforcement officers who have agreed to patrol Union R-XI schools more frequently.
“The Union Police Department and Franklin County Sheriff’s Department already have a presence, but I think we will have an increased effort this coming week,” he said.
Bryant said there are soon to be changes to where students are loaded and unloaded at Union Middle School and Union High School.
Major changes will be at UMS where buses now pick up students on the street in front of the school.
Paving recently was completed to allow for buses to load and unload in the rear of the school. The buses will be in a single file line.
The front of the school will strictly be for parents who drop-off or pick up students.
“That will alleviate some of that confusion in the front of the building,” said Bryant.