ST. CHARLES COUNTY, Mo. (KMOX) – After months of meetings, education leaders in St. Charles County are close to hammering out a final plan to increase school safety.
As a direct response to last December’s deadly rampage at Sandy Hook Elementary School in Newtown, Connecticut that claimed the lives of 20 young students and 6 adult staff members, St. Charles County executive Steve Ehlmann appointed a task force to formulate a plan.
That panel is headed up by Ft. Zumwalt Schools superintendent Dr. Bernard DuBray, who says they discarded some ideas but agreed on many others.
“We’re using one of our schools (at Ft. Zumwalt) as a test site,” DuBray told KMOX News. “We’ve installed a film on the inside of all the glass. It’s imperceptible but it like doubles and triples the strength so if someone tried to break through the glass, they would have a difficult time with it.”
That is, of course, a direct response to Sandy Hook, where the doors were locked but the gunman blasted his way through the front entrance.
DuBray says other suggestions, such as posting full-time police officers at every elementary school in the county, were simply unfeasible from a cost standpoint.
“Of course we would have loved to see the legislature appropriate some money for school security,” he admitted. “But that didn’t happen so I think we would have to look at other opportunities. I think it’s a small expenditure when you consider the safety and security for students in our schools.”
One proposal that did survive the weeding out process was the idea of establishing a direct link to local police and fire departments.
“Motorola was selected to provide the area-wide communications system so all of the first responders could talk to one another,” DuBray explained. “That would offer us the alternative of locating a base station in our schools that would have a ‘hot button’ so if there was a crisis you could push a button and get a response even faster than 911.”
Classroom door locks and security cameras that would monitor both inside and outside of schools are also part of the plan.
A finalized report to be presented to county officials is due next month