May 17, 2013 7:17 PM by Akeam Ashford
In the wake of the Sandy Hook massacre, schools nationwide are taking steps to better protect student and teachers, including here in Louisiana.Yesterday, the Louisiana legislature, unanimously passed House Bill (HB) 718, also known as the 'Crisis Management Response Plan'.
The bill requires administrators to create a school wide emergency response plan. All doors have to be locked during instructional periods, and administrators must develop a working relationship with law enforcement.
The Vermilion Parish School Board already follows this protocol at Eaton Park Elementary. After four separate break-ins, the school revisited their crisis plan, which allows administrators to lock the school down in one minute. "Eaton Park is one of our facilities that we've actually upgraded the entrance way where we're creating a divider," says Superintendent Jerome Puyau.
A second door was installed with an electronic lock; no one can get beyond the door unless buzzed in. The door remains locked, preventing anyone who could come into the school and lock themselves in a classroom. Assistant Principal, Lola Thomas says, "Our kids have even expressed that they feel a lot more comfortable and happy being in school, and they feel a lot safer."
If Eaton Park's security features work, Puyau wants to make changes at other schools in the parish. "This summer we're going to be addressing J.H. Williams, Herod, and Jesse Owens Elementary. We're going to implement the same type of security system and also new type of door upgrades," says Puyau.
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