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School tightens security measures in light of local and national scares

By the Notebook on Feb 12, 2013 02:22 PM
Photo: Bas Slabbers/NewsWorks

Cook-Wissahickon School principal Karen L. Thomas recently announced an update to the school's safety protocol.

by Carrie Hagen

Karen Thomas, principal of Cook-Wissahickon Elementary School, recognizes how easily schools can take safety for granted.

"In a neighborhood like we're in," she says, "we feel pretty safe." But in light of the school shooting at Sandy Hook Elementary in Newtown, Conn., and the kidnapping that occurred inside Bryant Elementary in West Philadelphia, Thomas and her staff have evaluated and tightened their student safety procedures.

Last week, Thomas sent a letter to parents and caregivers outlining changes in the school's dismissal procedures and its expectations for visitors and volunteers.

Thomas says that her changes are "nothing new and inventive," but "speak more to the fact that we have to pay attention to our policies and to how they keep kids safe." After reviewing these procedures, a safety team comprised of a building engineer, a lunch aide, the dean of students, the nurse, and Thomas defined areas in which the school could improve its protection of students.

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Comments (9)

Submitted by Anonymous (not verified) on February 12, 2013 5:50 pm
It's interesting because I was told that all classrooms in the District would be having their door locks removed. I'm confused how this relates to the safety of students and staff.
Submitted by Anonymous (not verified) on February 12, 2013 7:26 pm
Then this way teachers can be blamed for things that will now go missing or are vandelized.
Submitted by Linda K. (not verified) on February 12, 2013 9:51 pm
door locks to be removed and replaced with dual locks [safety from the inside]
Submitted by Anonymous (not verified) on February 12, 2013 10:56 pm
Thank God!!! Currently we have to go into the hallway to lock our doors. When I told the children what THEY have to do for a lockdown and then I told them what I have to do (Leave the classroom to lock the door) the looks on their faces clearly conveyed "WTF"?!!!
Submitted by Just Another Teacher Ruining Society (not verified) on February 12, 2013 10:49 pm
No, I was specifically told that the internal door locks would be removed due to concerns about "safety" and security for testing. I had no idea what that meant. However, I know for certain that I was told that all internal door locks would be removed from all District schools. Further, I was told that while there was a proposal to re-key all the locks so they could be locked from the inside, they determined that there was no room in the budget for that. Thus, in the end, there would be no inside door locks, period.
Submitted by Linda K. (not verified) on February 13, 2013 3:02 am
my school has the internal key locks and those not in perfect order have been replaced
Submitted by Linda K. (not verified) on February 13, 2013 3:08 am
that's how it was at my former school and you know what?....we just do what we need to do....when the locks were broken I TOLD my kids in a really bad situation I would put them in one of my four closets that lock from the outside [open from the inside] and we would hide and be quiet if need be.....common sense is better than no sense............
Submitted by Anonymous (not verified) on February 13, 2013 5:53 pm
I have no closets in my room that are big enough to accommodate a human. They removed our locks, too. They said internal locks are a fire hazard.
Submitted by Jenny (not verified) on May 24, 2013 12:37 am

I personally liked using the services of Gideon Botha and his team of locksmiths. It rarely happens that you could find responsible and well established locksmith services in a region, and I am fortunate to find them. Check their site to more about their services.

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