School board discusses securing school facility
by Mike Eldred
Jun 15, 2014 | 5550 views | 2 2 comments | 83 83 recommendations | email to a friend | print
WHITINGHAM- “This is the worst year for school shootings I can remember, and don’t think it’s going to get better.” In light of the rash of school shootings across the country – 74 in the last 18 months – Windham Southwest Supervisory Union Superintendent Richard McClements urged Twin Valley School Board members to take additional steps to secure school facilities at their regular meeting Tuesday evening. “If you can’t get an SRO (school resource officer), then the solution must be in the building,” he said. “Tom Fitzgerald (the incoming TVMHS principal), the staff, and the police can set up a real strong internal security schema. The problem is who gets into the building, and the access they have once inside.”

In March, voters turned down a proposal to hire a school resource officer. The SRO would have been a certified law enforcement officer hired through a contract with the Windham County Sheriff’s Department. Although the SRO would have provided the security of an armed law enforcement presence on the campus, the officer’s duties would have included education, mentoring, and counseling, according to Windham County Sheriff Keith Clark.

Twin Valley Elementary School Principal Rebecca Fillion said law enforcement and other officials would soon be training to respond to an incident at TVES. “The team will involve EMTs, game wardens, state, county, and local police,” she said.

TVSB Chair Seth Boyd said he has been in contact with Wilmington Police Chief Joe Szarejko to discuss security issues. “We’ll probably do the same thing when we open here, so everyone will be familiar with the layout.” he said. “And with the technology (camera system) we’ll have, we may be ahead of other schools.”Board member Adam Grinold asked whether issues of open access to the building had been resolved. In the past, teachers and students have left exit doors in the pods and classrooms propped open or unlocked. Grinold asked if alarms would be installed on the doors.

Board member Phil Taylor said the doors wouldn’t be alarmed, but they’ll automatically lock. “You can go out, but you can’t get back in.”

Boyd said the regular entry/exit doors will be unlocked by using a coded card. “So people shouldn’t be propping open doors so they can get back in. And before, we had teachers propping open doors for fresh air; now we have a fresh air exchange system.”

In other matters, Grinold showed board members several of the 35 Wilmington High School championship banners that would be for sale at Friday’s alumni night. Holding up a 1977 soccer championship banner, Grinold said the memorabilia would be auctioned to the highest bidder during the event. “We have old uniforms, including Buddy Hayford’s old uniform,” he said. “And he’ll be there, so you can get him to sign it. We’ll have signs, a couple of lockers, and old classroom desks.”

The event starts at 6 pm on Friday, June 13, under the graduation tent on Baker Field. The celebration is open to the public and includes a barbecue ($5 in advance), live music, guest speakers from the school’s past, and the silent auction.

Comments-icon Post a Comment
Donald Tracy
June 15, 2014
At the top of the article is a GLARING lie pushed by Bloomberg's private anti-gun organization, Everytown for gun safety. There have only been 15 school shootings over the 18 month period, but, of course, Mr. Bloomberg has NEVER allowed a little thing like the truth get in the way of what he thinks or wants. Please don't take me wrong. I am NOT against having armed Security Officers in schools. I think that it is a GOOD idea, and I also think that any school employee that wants to, should be allowed to carry at school, once they have proven that they have completed Firearms Safety training. I cannot tell you that Armed personnel at any of the schools attacked would have prevented any of the attacks, but I am absolutely sure that the casualties would have been minimized. Gun Free Zones do absolutely NOTHING except provide the shooters with unarmed and defenseless VICTIMS.
Betty Boop
June 15, 2014
What a difference 9 miles makes.

Whitingham and Wilmington are fighting by trying to promote safety within their schools and just down the road in Readsboro they are fighting to relax and lessen safety concerns previously put in place.

Go figure??

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