Discuss School Safety at Mehlville Schools Town Hall Meeting
Share ideas and concerns for school security with Superintendent Eric Knost and the rest of the Board of Education on Feb. 7.
School safety concerns will be the topic of an upcoming town hall meeting in the Mehlville School District.
Superintendent Eric Knost recalled during the Board of Education's Jan. 10 meeting how safety procedures changed "post-Columbine," and said he believed the Newtown, CT, shooting would have a similar effect in terms of forcing schools to re-examine how they keep students safe. Knost proposed an increased police presence at district elementary schools during peak hours, and the board unanimously approved $35,000 to staff four secondary officers through the rest of the school year.
Several board members expressed interest in continuing the school safety conversation. Board member Rich Franz suggested they extend the invitation to parents.
"We owe it to our community to have a public dialogue," he said.
In place of their regular Feb. 7 meeting, the board is hosting a town hall meeting at Andre's Banquet Center, 4254 Telegraph Rd., at 7 p.m. Water and snacks will be provided.
Knost said he's been involved in several conversations focused on student and staff safety since the Sandy Hook shooting. One practice they tweaked is the existing buzzer system, which is used to regulate visitors.
“Sandy Hook caused us to step back and examine how we approach utilization of the buzzer system,” Knost said. “It’s no longer okay to say, ‘I know that person, click them in.’”
Staff who aren’t comfortable with a visitor’s presence know to notify the principal—and the school resource officer, if needed. Visitors who present a cause for concern will not be let inside, Knost explained.
Another emphasis is on ensuring that all students have positive adult role models within the school district--what Knost called a "positive connection."
“All too often when you have those tragedies, you’ll hear, ‘These kids had no connection,'" he said.
See previous stories:
- Letter to the Editor: Oakville Student Challenges School Safety Measures
- NRA Calls for Armed Guards in Schools; Mehlville Already Has Officers at High, Middle Schools
- St. Louis County Police Chief Wants to Arm School Officials With Guns
- Should Local Teachers Pack Pistols?
- Mehlville Schools Superintendent Reacts to Connecticut Shooting