By KERON ROBINSON
Recent events like the Sandy Hook Elementary School shooting have parents on edge about whether their kids are actually safe getting onto that bus to go to school.
Many schools are putting new rules and policies in place. Pitner Elementary in Kennesaw is one of the schools taking extra precautions these days. The school’s principal Sherri Hill shares what the faculty does to keep their school safe and secure.
“In light of just so many incidents in the past, we’re sort of taking a second look at that and maybe we don’t need to be so open and free,” said Pitner Elementary’s Principal Sherri Hill.
Hill stresses the necessary balance between being open to parents in the community and keeping the building safe from unwanted persons.
“Years ago we had a woman come in and pose as a parent and knocked on the back door,” Hill said. “One of the staff members let her in. She acted like she didn’t know she was supposed to park in the front, so he directed her to the front office. She sort of went about the school and went into some classrooms that were unlocked and took some personal belongings of teachers.”
Since then, Hill has asked teachers to lock their doors when they aren’t in their classrooms. In addition to this procedure, Pitner has recently added extra security measures, such as increased police presence, and exclusive access doors. The school will soon be adding a monitored buzzer door at the front of the school.
Hill also says that the most important aspect to keeping the school safe is having emergency safety procedures in place and practicing them. The importance of regular security procedures appears to be an opinion shared by security officers too.
“Making sure that staff in general is kind of aware that when they see someone they don’t recognize to ask, ‘Can we help you? Is there someone you need to see?’ That way everyone is involved in knowing what’s going on here at the school,” said William Kretzmer, who is Pine Mountain Middle School’s security officer.
Kretzmer added that being aware of your surroundings doesn’t just apply in a school setting.
“That’s not just on this setting but it’s helpful to anyone. Kind of be aware of what’s going on around you; that way you know where the good place is to walk at night and what’s not
such a good place to go. Just in general, it’s a good thing for people to know,” Kretzmer said.