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ELC reviews security after Newtown shootings

December 27, 2012
By Michael Tidemann - Staff Writer , Estherville Daily News

Whenever there's a tragedy somewhere else, you can count on it that people will react locally - no matter how far away that might be.

Estherville Lincoln Central superintendent Tara Paul told Estherville Rotarians Thursday how the district has a plan should a similar crisis occur here.

While it wouldn't be appropriate to disclose the exact procedures, Paul said a board policy gives authority to set up a crisis team.

In addition, Paul said after Christmas break school staff will do a walk-through of district buildings.

"We think our buildings are safe. So does our fire marshal," Paul said. One procedure adding greatly to security is that after the morning bell rings visitors have to come through the front door of school buildings.

Addressing a number of Rotarians' questions, Paul noted cameras were in place in hallways in the middle school and high school. And as ELC High School principal Frank Christenson noted, the middle school is designed so visitors have to walk through a vestibule by the office.

Paul also agreed that arming teachers wasn't a good idea.

"I don't know that that is going to prevent anything," Paul said.

Christenson said schools are required by law to have two fire drills and two tornado drills each semester. He said though the problem with a lockdown is that every situation is different. "It's never going to be the same situation," Christenson said. "You're never going to be able to predict what they're going to do."

As for any policy for notifying parents, Paul said the district is changing its parental notification system. If a lockdown should happen, she said kids will be kept where they are so law enforcement can do its job. That means parents wouldn't be allowed into the building is secure.

John Wittneben, just concluding his term as state representative, said whenever a crisis happens the first reaction is for gun control.

"To me that's a waste of time," said Wittneben. "It's mental health" that's the problem, he said.



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