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Argos schools adjusting to change for safety

August 27, 2010

ARGOS — A new policy to make Argos schools more secure for students went into effect this week and so far it’s been smooth sailing.
Last week Superintendent Dr. Jennifer Lucht announced to parents that beginning on Aug. 23 the doors to the elementary and secondary school would be locked during the school day — from 8:15 a.m. to 2:45 p.m. — to provide a more secure environment for students.
“It really gave us more control of knowing who was entering and leaving the building,” said Lucht. “At the high school we don’t have a very good view of just who is coming in and going out. We have a better view at the elementary but it didn’t make any sense to lock half the building and not the other.”
Most other schools have a similar “lock down” policy in place. Any visitor coming to the school presses a button at an intercom box at the front door, stating their name and their business, to be “buzzed in” to the building. At Argos – as at most schools – a surveillance camera at the point of entry to the building records all comings and goings.
Once inside visitors are to stop in the main office to sign in. When leaving the building visitors are asked to stop by the office again to sign out.
“This was really prompted by two things,” said Lucht. “I’m the Safety Coordinator of the buildings and at every Safe School conference in Indianapolis I attend they tell me ‘you need to do this, you need to do this.’ Then the incident at Plymouth a year ago really brought home the need to do this.”
The incident referred to by Lucht occurred at Plymouth High School a year ago when a man fleeing police attempted to enter the building and was prevented from doing so by the lock out policy. The man was later apprehended.
“We have such a huge responsibility when it comes to our student population and our staff,” said Lucht. “We have to be able to insure that when people come to the building they will be safe and this just helps us do that.”
So far everyone seems to be adjusting to the change without difficulty. “For the most part it’s going very smoothly,” said Lucht. “I haven’t heard any negatives. When parents realize what’s behind the change I think they agree with it. They know we trust them (the parents) but in the world we live in today we need to take every precaution.”

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