Solon Schools plans to hire a nationally recognized school safety expert to assess the security of its school buildings, one of many steps the district is taking in the wake of the school shooting in Newtown, Conn.
Superintendent Joe Regano said a contract has yet to be finalized, but the schools plan to bring in Kenneth S. Trump of National School Safety and Security Services to re-evaluate the school buildings.
Trump lives in the Cleveland area and is a nationally recognized expert in school safety who was expressing concerns about school safety even before the Columbine shooting in 1999, Regano said. Trump has worked as a consultant before on security issues for Solon Schools.
"He is thought of well and respected on the national level," Regano said of Trump. "We have to learn whatever can be learned from these horrific issues."
Immediately after the Sandy Hook Elementary shooting in Newtown, Solon Schools officials got to work re-assessing their security plans. The school board and other school leaders met with Police Chief Chris Viland and put together a list of items to be addressed.
That list was communicated to parents and includes a number of additional security measures and ideas officials plan to pursue.
- New Director of Safety: Create a new position of district Director of Safety & Security to provide professional guidance and direction to our day-to-day operations related to school safety and security. It is clear to us that we need expertise beyond what is currently available on our staff.
- Architectural changes to school buildings: Make architectural changes to our school buildings, including, but not limited to, entry points, which make them more secure.
- School-day police presence: Work and plan with city officials as we begin school-day police protection and presence in each building and on school grounds.
- Re-enforce current security rules: More strictly enforce the security measures we already have in place.
- Practice safety drills more regularly: Practice the safety drills in our schools with more regularity and at different times of the school day so students and staff are prepared for action regardless of what time of day an emergency occurs.
Regano said he plans to provide regular updates on the progress of security-related issues at school board meetings and in regular communications with parents.
"There’s nothing more important that the security of all of us in the buildings, no matter what the age," he said.