School safety group looks at more counseling, electronic door locks

Members of District 51’s School Security and Safety Work Group broke into small groups Monday and began shaping a proposal for safety changes in local schools.

The 25-member group was assembled last month to create a list of suggestions for making the district safer with new procedures, practices and/or programs. The group spent the first four weeks of its existence hearing presentations about potential ideas and issues to be addressed in the suggestion list, which will be presented to the District 51 School Board on March 19.

On Monday, the group shifted from hearing presentations to discussing what they do and don’t want to see in the proposal to the board.

Broad ideas that made the initial cut included more counseling, more anti-bullying education, more school resource officers and/or volunteers, building better relationships and communication among district employees and students, and conducting as many or more practice drills than are now required. Electronic door locks, review of safety audits, suicide prevention programming, and labeling doors more clearly for first responders also were suggested.

The group will gather Monday for its penultimate meeting at 3:30 p.m. in the modular unit behind the Emerson building. That meeting will delve further into “difficult” topics, according to group co-chairman John Marshall, including how to pay for suggested safety measures.


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