Hinsdale-Clarendon Hills District 181 adds security measures
This is the area at Clarendon Hills Middle School into which visitors gain entry through an unlocked door from outside the building, before being buzzed into the school office. | Chuck Fieldman—Sun-Times Media
Updated: February 25, 2013 6:19AM
BURR RIDGE — District 181 is implementing a few changes in hopes of making school buildings safer, following the December school shootings in Connecticut.
Along with the addition of a double-buzzer building entry system that will be required for visitor entry in to all school buildings, the number of lockdown drills completed during each school year has been increased from one to three in each building.
A unified communication system, which will improve communication during emergency situations, is to be installed. And there will be additional staff training.
These changes were suggested in a recent report, School Safety in District 181, completed by The Hinsdale-Clarendon Hills Elementary District 181 Safety and Crisis Committee.
That group, which is made up of school personnel along with representatives of police and fire departments from Hinsdale, Clarendon Hills and Burr Ridge, meets on a monthly basis.
“We are always discussing ways to keep our students, teachers and staff as safe as possible,” Superintendent Renee Schuster said.
Each of the district’s nine school buildings hosted a lockdown drill in the fall. After deciding earlier in January to increase the number of those drills, The Lane School had another lockdown drill Jan. 15. It was not announced in advance to all school personnel; parents were made aware of it via email about an hour before it took place.
“It went exceptionally well,” Schuster said. “We want to make sure that everything is working properly. We want our students and teachers to practice lockdown drills so that knowing what to do becomes automatic and the students learn to do what the adults tell them to do.”
The planned double-buzzer building entry system will be installed in each building as soon as possible, Schuster said.
Currently, to gain entry into District 181 school buildings, visitors walk into a building through an unlocked door and must be buzzed into the school office to sign in.
The new system will require visitors to be both buzzed into the school buildings and again into the office. Cameras will be installed so that office staff can see who is seeking entry into the building before buzzing.
“That slows the process down of people coming into the buildings,” Schuster said.
She said the District 181 Board also will consider the purchase of systems for each building that allow for the scanning of drivers licenses of visitors and issuance of a printed visitor’s pass sticker. Hinsdale Central uses such a security system.