BENTON COUNTY, Ind. (WLFI) - Benton Community Schools is beefing up its school safety measures with several new initiatives.
School safety is a top priority for Benton Community Schools Superintendent Destin Haas.
"Our first priority is being educators," Haas said. "But, we also want to educate them on being safe and being able to communicate with us that the feel safe coming to school."
One of the new additions is a new CyberBullying Hotline. Students can use this hotline to anonymously tip school officials of bullying.
"Not just cyber bullying but bullying that would happen on the bus or in school," Haas said. "And we have received tips and followed up on those tips and taken care of those matters."
Another one of the safety measures put in place is new School Safety Back Packs. These backpacks will be given to each of the corporation's 23 safety school specialists so they can assist children when they're in need.
"Each of the individuals will receive a backpack that has a first-aid kit, all your safety personnel information in there," said Haas. "From school safety plans, to maps, to school boundaries, you name it's in there."
Haas says these measures are not just a reaction to the Sandy Hook shooting, but have been in the works for years. He says school safety means being ready for all events, large and small.
"School safety is not just about bomb threats or gunmen or anything like that," Haas said. "It's about making sure the parking lots are monitored, making sure the playgrounds are monitored, making sure all your facilities' hallways are monitored."
The following is a list of safety practice and resources Benton Community Schools has in place to keep their students safe:
- Drills - Severe Weather, Fire, Earthquake, Bus Evacuation, Man-Made Drills and Lockdown
- Automated call notification systems for emergency or immediate notifications
- Camera system that has been updated and provides video at all schools
- Camera system on all their school buses
- Visitor Notification Systems (doorbell and camera/speakers)
- Anonymous Alert Tip Line
- CyberBullying Hotline
- National Background Checks
- Emergency Communication through their use of over 60 radios. In addition they are in contact with all their emergency and safety personnel in the county by 800 MHz radios they have in each school building and the corporation office. The Superintendent of Schools has one in their office and at home.
- Crisis Counseling Services through Wabash Valley and area agencies
- All Staff now wear Photo ID badges within the building
The following are procedures Benton Community Schools are either upgrading or adding to aide in school safety.
- All their School Safety Specialists will receive new School Safety Back Packs containing many items that will be critical to have available in an emergency situation.
- The corporation will be installing a check-in system, using School Gate Guardian software. This will replace what is currently used at two of the schools and add a system at each of the other two schools. This will provide a much better process for screening and admitting visitors to the building.
- They are getting new signage for our entrances and identifying Bus Lanes that will be used for Buses and emergency vehicles only. This will mean that at all times only buses and emergency vehicles will be allowed in these marked areas.
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