As in the aftermath of all tragic events, it causes one to begin to wonder, “What if something like that happened here?” This has consumed my thoughts over the weekend after the horrible massacre at Sandy Hook Elementary in Newtown, Connecticut. I would like to take this time to assure you we at Mason ISD are not taking this lightly and burying our heads in the sand. The folks in Newtown didn’t think such a thing could happen there either. On the other hand, we do not want to go overboard and cause panic or diminish the quality of why we all choose to live in Mason.
According to what I have read, the principal at Sandy Hook Elementary had just overseen the completion of an upgrade to their current security system requiring all visitors to be “buzzed” in at the front door. Video surveillance cameras had also been installed making it probably one of the more secure schools in the country. This says to me there is no way to prevent such an act if the perpetrator is determined, but there are steps we can implement to perhaps limit the devastation.
These added security measures are going to cause inconvenience for all involved but we ask for your patience and understanding in our efforts to better protect our students and staff. We will begin locking most of the exterior doors after 8:00 a.m. leaving only one major entrance open in the elementary/jr. high building and a couple open at the high school. Upon entering the building, please go immediately to the respective campus office to sign in no matter what your reason for visiting or the length of your stay. If you are going beyond the office, you will be asked to wear a visitor’s badge.
We will be discussing procedures of locking interior doors and will work out the best solution for all concerned although it may not be uniform for all age levels. Locking of interior doors will also help protect the electronics and other valuables in the classrooms from theft. These are practices that just make good sense.
All teachers have been reminded of the lockdown procedures for our school and a review of Emergency Operations Procedures is in progress. There is neither a perfect plan nor any way to prevent all possible scenarios. The best we can do is be alert, aware and prepared to the extent possible. Please do not hesitate to contact me or any of the campus principals if you have questions, concerns or suggestions.
Pam Kruse, Superintendent