School year will begin with enhanced security measures

New security measures being implemented as a result of the fatal shooting of 20 children at Sandy Hook

Kamloops This Week

Beginning in September, all adults —from secretaries to principals to teachers — in Kamloops-Thompson schools will wear name badges.

The requirement is part of a number of new security measures being implemented following the fatal shooting of 20 children at Sandy Hook elementary school in Connecticut two years ago.

“At a large school like Sa-Hali or South Kamloops secondary, it will let staff know if someone has checked in at the office,” said the district’s health and safety manager, Michelle Marginet.

Changes to security in the school district began almost immediately after the Sandy Hook shootings, with a directive that school doors, other than the main entrance, must be locked during the school day.

Other new measures included lock-down procedures twice a year and a requirement that visitors sign in.

It will take several months to bring in the name tags to each school.

In addition to wearing name tags, teachers will be required to keep their doors shut and locked while inside with their class.

“We can’t make our classes into fortresses,” superintendent Terry Sullivan told trustees at their regular board meeting on Monday, July 7. “We have to have a balance.”

Following the tragedy in Connecticut, the district struck a committee to look at school security.

Most of its recommendations are being adopted, save for implementing a swipe-card system at schools — deemed too expensive — and installing security cameras at every entrance.

They will be installed, however, where the office is not at the front entrance.

The district will adopt a key-tracking strategy and ensure locks are consistent through schools.

Marginet said the district is also installing roll shutters at each school over time.

They can be shut during a lockdown and also decrease vandalism and increase security during non-school hours.

About three schools a year are being equipped due to costs.