Archive for Wednesday, April 8, 2015

Bonner schools look to increase building emergency options

April 8, 2015

Bonner Springs-Edwardsville USD 204 schools are looking to add another layer of preparation in the case of an emergency.

The USD 204 Board of Education Monday heard a presentation about the ALICE response system in the case of an active shooter or other armed criminal in a school building. The district two years ago established the Standard Response Protocol, but School Resource Officer Anthony Davis said he felt the need to amend and enhance one part of the protocol to provide more options for staff and students faced with danger in the school building.

The Standard Response Protocol allowed schools to work with area police departments to ensure both emergency officials and schools were using the same emergency response system in the case of students and staff needing to take shelter for natural disasters, like a tornado; evacuating for events like a fire or bomb; lockout schools for danger outside of the buildings, like a fugitive in the area; and lockdown schools for danger inside the building, like an active shooter.

Davis said he thought the school needed to amend its lockdown procedures, so he and Christina Kilgore, Bonner Springs High School vice principal, attended ALICE training at Kansas City Kansas Community College.

Currently in a lockdown, the procedure is to lock the doors, turn out the lights, and try to get out of sight of anyone entering the room. Teachers are not to open the door at any time, until a building official with a key unlocks the door.

But Davis and Kilgore said this system didn’t provide options giving teachers, students and staff in the building the freedom to choose what to do to give them the best odds of survival. For example, if someone with a weapon were known to be near the library, students in classrooms on the other side of the building from the library should have the option to leave the school, instead of “just waiting.”

“The advantage is with the shooter, because they know everyone is going to be under the table waiting,” said Kilgore, who said she went through a simulation in which the lock to her room was broken, allowing a shooter to enter and “kill” everyone in the room. “It made a pretty big impact, because we all died while we were waiting to be saved.”

ALICE stands for Alert, Lockdown, Inform, Counter and Evacuate, and it provides options to students and staff, allowing and approving of outside-the-box thinking. It encourages staff to spread as much information about the danger in the building as possible and both students and staff can take defensive “counter” measures, rather than just hiding, and evacuate if it seems the safer option.

Kilgore and Davis said they planned to train administrators on the system first and then have administrators train teachers. Students would be given a very basic training depending on their age but would be advised to listen to their teachers in the case of a real lockdown.

The board gave its consent to move forward with the program.

“It’s very sad that we have to make this a huge topic in our society, but I’m a huge advocate for that,” David Toland, board member, said.

In other business, the board agreed to spend an additional $29,600 on the BSHS auditorium upgrades to install new seating rather than refurbishing the existing seating. They also asked HTK Architects to look into potential costs of renovating the bathrooms nearest to the auditorium.

The board also heard a request from a resident who wanted the board to consider enrolling his younger cousin, now living with him, in the district, though the boy had been expelled from a school in North Carolina for selling marijuana.

Superintendent Dan Brungardt explained the district’s policy was not to enroll students who had been suspended or expelled from another district until the suspension or expulsion was resolved.

Toland and some other board members advocated considering such requests on a case-by-case basis, but the board didn’t take any action.

Board members Ray Cox and Tim McGinnis did not attend the meeting.

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