MIDDLEBOURNE - Due to the Newtown, Conn., tragedy, many around the county may be wondering what the response of Tyler County Schools has been regarding security in the schools. Superintendent Robin Daquilante said she, along with Child Nutrition and Safety Director Amanda Kimble and School Resource Officer Deputy Joey Richardson, have met with all staff and faculty to review existing security procedures. The main point discussed were reminding those allowing entry to a building to ask the identity of any visitors, the purpose of the visit and making sure they are signed in and obtain a visitor's pass. Knowing who is in the building at all times will help staff and faculty to account for everyone in the case of an emergency or crisis.
Tyler County and counties around the state receive funding for security through a School Access Safety grant, funded in part by the West Virginia School Building Authority and West Virginia Department of Education.
Tyler County Schools used it to install security precautions. Kimble said one of the most valuable installations are cameras.
"We needed the cameras to monitor the doorways and hallways. We were able to put those in the elementary schools as well. They weren't installed because we have students misbehave, but because we want to have those extra set of eyes if something happens," said Kimble.
Before entrance to any Tyler County School, a visitor must press a button on an intercom to signal the secretary, who can see the visitor via a camera in the intercom. The secretary can see a visitor before granting access into the school.
Other installations include mantrap doors and bollards. Bollards are located in front of the school and will prevent anyone from driving through the school to gain entry or cause an explosion. The schools also set up periodic mock drills to prepare students, staff and faculty for a crisis situation if one were ever to occur.
Additionally, each school has their own School Safety and Security Committee. Daquilante, along with Kimble, attend the monthly Local Emergency and Planning Committee. The security of the schools is a countywide initiative, not just the concern of the Tyler County Board of Education. The West Virginia Department of Education is working on a revision of the School Crisis Response Plan that was started before the Newtown tragedy. It will begin during the 2013-2014 school year. This plan is not in use but was enacted during the 2011 Legislative Session. It was enacted to ensure all West Virginia schools implement a crisis response plan to be maintained in an Automated Critical Asset Management System (ACAMS), which is a national, secure, Web-based, database.