Editor's note: This article was submitted by Valley View School District 365U.
In order to make sure everyone is on the same page when it comes to school safety, Valley View School District 365U School Safety Coordinator Leroy Brown and three members of the Bolingbrook Police Department visited with faculty and staff members at Oak View Elementary School Tuesday morning.
“We all have to make sure we are doing everything we can to keep our students safe,” Brown told the group. “But we need your help because you’re the ones who have to keep our kids safe.”
Brown discussed general VVSD procedures during lockdowns, while Sgt. Jeff Drabek and officers Nick Reedy and Steve Furtek detailed the police department’s role should an incident occur in or near a school.
“We are far ahead of other school districts when it comes to security plans,” said Brown, informing Oak View staff that the advice of VVSD officials is in great demand at regional, statewide and national school safety conferences.
“And we have very good police departments in this area. They train thousands of hours on this and their response time is very fast.”
Brown stressed the importance of taking every drill seriously, whether it’s a fire drill, a soft lockdown drill, or a hard lockdown drill.
“Practice does not make perfect. It makes habit,” he said.
Among questions staff members asked:
- If there is a hard lockdown, and the opportunity presents itself, should teachers open or break a classroom window and get the kids outside? (No. VVSD hard lockdown protocol must be followed. The door must be locked. Lights must be off. Shades should be pulled. Everyone should be in a corner farthest away from view. No one is to enter or leave the room until the all-clear has been sounded.)
- Can bullets penetrate the cinder block walls in a classroom? (Not likely.)
- What if the front office staff is neutralized before they can activate the (soon-to-be-installed) panic alarm system and you hear shots fired? (Don’t hesitate. Call 9-1-1 on your cell phone.)
- Will VVSD staff members be allowed to carry weapons in the future? (No.)
“If you don’t have a safe environment, kids won’t feel safe learning and you won’t feel safe teaching,” Brown said.