Classrooms to get new locks
All of the classrooms in the Sonoma Valley Unified School District will be getting new locks that allow teachers to lock down classrooms from inside.
At Tuesday night’s school board meeting, Superintendent Louann Carlomagno, as part of an update on Safe Schools, told the board that the district is looking at putting inside locks in all the district’s classrooms, save for Adele Harrison Middle School which already has lockable doors.
Carlomagno said that, because of fire regulations, a dead-bolt wouldn’t be allowed since regulation requires that doors be opened in one motion.
She also said a number of classrooms will be getting some sort of shades or blinds to cover the windows.
The district has been installing double-lock doors for the past few years as old door handles needed replacing, she said.
“We’re now beginning the process of retrofitting existing doors, but it will take a while to complete,” she said. “Within the last week, we ordered 50 new door handle sets and will be installing these during the month of February. Once we install the first 50, we’ll have a better idea of the time it takes so we can build a schedule.”
The locks cost about $350 each.
Carlomagno said the need for window coverings is determined room-by-room.
“We’re working with a vendor now to begin installing shades in three classrooms over the next four weeks. The trial sites will be Dunbar, El Verano and Prestwood,” she said. “Once we have these installed – and get feedback from teachers – we will put a plan together to address all classrooms in the district that have inadequate window coverings.”
Recently, district personnel have attended two Safe School training sessions – both of which were held prior to the Newtown, Conn., school massacre.
The November session focused on supporting students, families and staff through crisis recovery. The December session dealt with writing or updating a safe school plan.
“(Police) Chief (Bret) Sackett looks at our safe school plans,” she said. “All of our campuses, except Sonoma Charter and Woodland Star are wide open.”
Nanci Mathison, the district’s director of student services, said a number of support pieces have aided the district in crisis moments.
Mathison said local law enforcement, the district’s student resource officer, the counseling staff, Hospice of the North Bay, Sutter Hospice, the WillMar Center, Paws as Loving Support and the Sheriff’s chaplains have all aided the district in times of crisis.
Sackett told the board that Safe Schools is very important.
He said that all law enforcement in the Valley is conducted by the same agency – the Sheriff’s Office – whether it be the Sonoma Police or the deputies in the Valley, and all have the same training.
“The Chiefs Association adopted a county-wide protocol, and we train every year,” Sackett said. And every other year, there is field training on a school campus.
He said the district’s school resource officer is a “tremendous resource.”
“Matt (Regan) is a first responder, which is a huge plus for this district,” he added.
Boardmember Helen Marsh said that a lot of safety issues could be addressed before there’s a shooting on campus.
She talked about a training session she attended and was told that school authorities shouldn’t react to the most recent incident when making plans.
“What we need to do is make it safer,” she said. “Matt’s main job is to form relationships with the kids.”
And Marsh said that, like police and fire personnel, educators run toward a crisis.
Carlomagno said that the board will receive site safety plans at next month’s meeting.
“I have also asked every site administrator to check with staff, parents and students about any recommendations they might have for improving student and school safety,” she said.