Just hours after police shot and wounded a student brandishing a gun at Waukesha South High School, Stoughton Area School District administrators and board members held their annual safety update.
The timing wasn’t lost on superintendent Tim Onsager, who referenced the incident while discussing safety updates and plans for next year.
“I wish that we weren’t in a time where we had to pay as much attention to keeping people out, and how to respond if there is someone (with) a gun in school,” he said. “I wish we could just focus on the education, but in this day and age we also have to worry about safety and security.”
District building and grounds supervisor and safety coordinator Luke Butz briefed board members on the federal safety assessment required every three years by the U.S. Department of Justice. The district hired Wisconsin School Safety Coordinators Association to spend a day in the district, and Butz said they provided an extensive report for each school.
Some strengths noted were the district’s safety plan, which he said is constantly updated and “drills down to each school as far as evacuation procedures and all the different safety aspects.”
The recent additions of push button lockset in all buildings was also cited.
Butz said with the devices, “anyone from our elementary age children to our high schoolers can now press a button and lock the doors at any time in case there is an intruder in our buildings.”
Some ideas for improvements included more consistent displaying of district-issued IDs and more training for key personnel in the Incident Command System.
The next phase for the district is the addition of secure entrances to all buildings. Butz said the project is in the design phase, with a SASD administrative team review of plans set for Dec. 18. He said the goal will be to have all new entrances completed next summer.
The main changes in the entrances would be all exterior doors would be locked, and visitors would be buzzed in at the exterior door by the office.
“(That’s) really our first point of security for stopping somebody getting into our buildings,” he said. “Once you enter that exterior door you’re funneled directly into the main office, where you … complete your background check before you’re given access to rest of the school.”