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BVSD taking measures to step up student safety

July 12. 2013 9:27AM
Brandon Valley School Board approved a bid package of just over $200,000 for several projects to be completed this summer. The projects include providing secure entrances at the elementary schools with buzzer/intercom/video technology to limit access during the school day. The redesign of these entrances includes routing visitors to, or through, the school offices. While limiting access is just one step in providing for student safety, it is one the board believed needed to be taken. No system can account for every possible intrusion by a determined perpetrator, but providing secure entrances makes sense in today’s world. That may be unfortunate, but it is the reality.

The school board also directed the administration to move forward with designs, specifications and financing plans for a new intermediate school to serve grades five and six and for the provision of secure entrances at the high school and middle school. The secure entrances at these buildings are more involved and will require significant construction so, if the board authorizes the projects, they will be completed during the summer of 2014.

The district is also taking other unspecified measures to improve security and student safety for next school year. We know that chances of an incident are statistically remote, but the district still needs to be prepared to avert a crisis if possible. Student safety is a big part of providing learning environments that result in success. A student who spends the day afraid for their safety is not likely to be the best learner.

The district’s school resource officer and several principals attended the School Safety Conference in Pierre last month and have brought back the latest thinking and strategies on safety. The district will review its safety plan again this year to see if new strategies ought to replace the current processes. In the end, student and staff safety is an ongoing and evolving effort that, while never perfect, demands prudent planning and action. The Brandon Valley School District remains committed to this effort.

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