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New security measures cause little buzz

A little over a month after implementing new security measures at Red Wing public schools, Supt. Karsten Anderson said the transition has gone smoothly.

“Overall it’s going much better than expected,” Anderson said.

New security measures were put in place to start the year and now every visitor who enters district buildings during school hours must be buzzed in and receive an ID badge from school offices.

At a School Board meeting Sept. 3, the first day of school, Anderson said there were some questions raised about individuals using the system who don’t speak English or have difficulty hearing.

Anderson said these issues are going to be addressed but he wants to have a comprehensive plan in place before any changes are made.

“We’re looking at signage this year to provide a safe and welcoming environment,” he said.

Colvill Family Center started using the system after the rest of district because the first few days there have high traffic with people coming to drop kids off, said Min MartinOakes, center director.

There were some lines shortly after the start of the new procedures at Colvill, Anderson said, which led to a slight adjustment of the procedures at the school.

“It was a little slow, maybe, getting it started in this building because we have lots of drop-offs and pick-ups,” MartinOakes said.

The main adjustment at Colvill is education assistants are now in the lobby before classes so parents can check-in students there and not have to take time to swipe IDs or go to the classrooms.

All the parents have been patient with the new system, MartinOakes said.

“Nobody has been frustrated that they have to line up to swipe in because I think everybody gets we just want to do our very best to keep kids as safe as we can district-wide,” she said.

Anderson said some concern was also raised by vendors making deliveries to the schools, but presenting some different options helped alleviate any further concern.

Ultimately, Anderson said, people understand the need to be vigilant when it comes to student safety.

Before the implementation of the new security procedures, the majority of building doors were locked during the day except for the main entrances.

Visitors were asked to check in at school offices and sign a paper log.

Not all visitors would check in, however, and the logs weren’t always accurate, said Kevin Johnson, director of buildings and grounds.

Now once visitors are buzzed in, they will need to present an ID, such as a state-issued driver’s license. The ID will be swiped using the district’s ID card readers and a sticker badge with the school’s name, the date, and time with the visitor’s name will print out.

The ID system will keep a log of every visitor, making it possible to have an accurate account of everyone in the building.

Visitors are asked to swipe their ID when they leave as well, which removes them from the roster.

John R. Russett

John Russett is a regional reporter for RiverTown Multimedia, covering a variety of issues facing RiverTown communities. Previously, he worked at the Red Wing Republican Eagle, where he reported on education as well as crime and courts. 

You can follow him on Twitter at @JohnRyanRussett


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