Over the past few months, Montgomery County and the state of Maryland implemented new safety procedures and drills to match the nation’s growing security issue in schools.
Hoping to better control and monitor the people who come in and out of the school Blake created a central entrance and exit by installing a new door into the main office over the summer.
Blake has also extended this goal to a new policy for the doors all over the school. After 8:00 am, all doors leading outside will be locked and the only way inside the building will be through new door in the main office.
“Administration and security can’t watch every door that’s open,”says security team leader Phil Giarth. The new door procedure will help in protecting against outsiders.
Along with the new door in the main office, a new sign-in machine was added to provide even greater regulation. The new machine allows the Blake front office to screen the visitors who come into the building, running their names against the database of sex offenders and any other criminal databases.
In light of numerous school shootings that have occurred across the country this year, MCPS is taking steps to ensure student safety through a new drill. A work in progress, it has been referred to as lockdown with options. The drill gives teachers the opportunity to bring students outside the school during a lockdown in the event that a dangerous person is in the building, if deemed safe.
Principal Bob Sinclair expressed support for of this drill, as he has seen the concept in action in the past. He says,“If you go back to [the Sandy Hook Elementary School shooting], there was one teacher who really did an amazing job saving her class [when she] brought them outside.”
Because many schools in the state and country are also securing their schools, Blake is still waiting for physical parts for the building. The current wooden door that is in the front office will eventually become a metal door for security purposes, according to Mr. Sinclair.
When talking about school security changes, the question of student privacy comes into play as well as the question of how far schools are willing to go to ensure student safety and how much students are willing to give up to accept policy changes is raised. “The ideal state is for kids to come in and really believe [they are] safe in the building,” says Mr. Sinclair.