School district implements new safety measures

By Bob McDonnell
The Surveyor

Since the shooting at Columbine High School in April 20, 1999, security at public schools took on a new importance. Like many school districts across the nation, the Loveland and Berthoud schools in the Thompson School District are changing and, in most cases, increasing the level of security at local schools.

A letter sent to the one of the schools in the district details what the district calls the new security precautions.

According to the letter, the Thompson School District is implementing a new protocol designed to help enhance security in local schools. The protocol is referred to as “Controlled Access,” which is a system that allows the front doors of the school to remain locked during instructional hours. Visitors to the school will still be allowed to enter the building by simply pressing a button. Staff in the school office will reply over the system’s intercom and identify the visitor. Office staff will unlock the door, which is accomplished remotely from within. The visitor will then be able to proceed into the school. The entire process takes only seconds to complete.

“A robust system” and a “paradigm shift” is how Thompson School District’s Safety and Security Manager Rick Frei characterized the new system. He says the program provides the schools with a record of who entered the school and for what purpose. Frei added that the cameras capture video to be archived at the district too.

Frei noted the decision to go to this new method is a school community-based one. “They have a voice,” said Frei.

Frei said the elementary schools in Loveland are in the process of implementing the new procedure. So far, five of the elementary schools already use the new system.

According to Frei, funding for the increased security comes out of the district’s capital reserves.

Ivy Stockwell Principal Rick Bowles says the new security will not change the elementary school’s successful program called Ivy Heroes. The heroes in this case are usually dads of Ivy Stockwell students who monitor the playground before and after school and at recess. They also help out in the classrooms.

“It’s another layer of security,” Bowles said. “Another set of eyes is so important.” Look for the Thompson School District’s Controlled Access to be in use at Berthoud Elementary Schools at the start of the next school year.