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B-A has made significant changes to improve student safety

An+updated+flip+chart+is+one+step+administrators+have+taken+to+make+B-A+safer.
An updated flip chart is one step administrators have taken to make B-A safer.

An updated flip chart is one step administrators have taken to make B-A safer.

Kaelynn Behrens

Kaelynn Behrens

An updated flip chart is one step administrators have taken to make B-A safer.

Sidney Patterson, Editor in Chief

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The nation is torn over precisely what is going to prevent school shootings.

Do we make guns accessible to every teacher, or do we initiate further limitations on purchasing them?

Do we spend more money on security, or spend time focusing on mental health?

The administration of the Bellwood-Antis School District is currently mulling over these questions and coming together to find the best solution.

“We still have a lot of work to do,” said Superintendent Tom McInroy, “but we have done a lot of work, too.”

According to Dr. McInroy, the first steps toward a safer B-A began several years with assessing what the school already had  in place. Dr. McInroy, Middle School Principal Dr. Wagner, Buildings and Grounds Manager Tom Kovac and other faculty and administrators all had a helping hand in.

It started with the revision of the flip chart in 2014. The flip chart is an organized Emergency Action Plan for just about any emergency or lockdown scenario.

“We have an emergency action plan in a flip chart,” said Dr. McInroy. “It was woefully outdated. All of the administrators got together, sat down with emergency responders and county control; we had board members involved, we had teachers involved, support staff involved. We all came together and asked, ‘How can we make the school safer?’”

The Superintendent admitted it was a year-long, massive undertaking, but it was necessary for a safer school environment. It didn’t stop there either.

“I had asked the state police to do a full safety audit on the school,” said Dr. McInroy. “It took a couple days; everything from the lighting in the parking lot, to the windows, all of it, so we did a complete safety check on what we have.”

The results of the audit made clear that the school had room for improvement. One of the first implementations the school district made added signage to the campus. This will not only help visitors find their way around the school, but also direct first responders in the event of an accident.

In addition to that, changes have been made to secure entry in the building, creating double entries at all door locations electronic locks that ensure guests are “buzzed” in before entry. Dr. McInory went on to say that the school district has assigned every door a number.

Another big implementation of the school safety plan is The Safe School Helpline at Bellwood-Antis.  This hotline can be used to report anything from drug activity to thoughts of suicide and is open to students, parents, and staff members. High School Principal Richard Schreier finds the helpline to be a valuable resource.

“It’s an opportunity to anonymously text, call, or email if you see a student struggling in school or you have a concern about the safety in school,” said Mr. Schreier, “it’s there if the safety of the school is at risk, or if students themselves feel at risk.”

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