District Eyes Security Changes

NEW BREMEN — In response to the Newtown, Conn. shootings, New Bremen school board members approved significant safety measures Wednesday night.

Members approved a measure to bid out an approximately $45,000 renovation project to move the high school office into the current community room as a way to check visitors who would attempt to enter the building during school hours.

“Some teachers were really shook up ... some still are,” New Bremen Superintendent Howard Overman said.

The system would put two offices inside the 900 square-foot room, plus an in-school suspension room and an open area. The front doors would be reconfigured so that the inside doors would lock, whereas now only the outside doors lock.

Other ideas included wiring a buzzer system to the current office at a cost of $10,000, but Overman said there was still concern that a person could be buzzed in and wander the building unsupervised, while changing the office location will require the person to go to the front office immediately after arrival.

The plan is to bid the project, and, if it is accepted, to complete it as a monthlong, summer project.

Other safety measures included installing a buzzer and video system at the elementary school entrance and having students come straight inside before school instead of asking them to wait outside until shortly before school begins, limiting the number of entrances to enter the school.

“It’s something we’ve talked about before,” Board President Kami Fox said. “Over the last decade, issues have changed. You can’t really argue against it.”

The high school classrooms also now have one window per room able to be opened. The way the windows are designed, a special tool is used to open the windows, making it difficult to evacuate a room through the window. Each entrance has a number and meeting spots have been designated should an armed intruder situation occur. Doors are also numbered, and details of the evacuation plans and maps of the school are going to local law enforcement.

However, Overman said the school isn’t focused on overwhelming students with the details.

“We’re saying, ‘run and we’ll find you later,’” he said.