Delaware News

New reaction to school intruders: Get outside fast

Delaware school resource officer says huddling in classrooms no longer best plan

By ThisWeek Community News  • 

The days of shutting off the lights and hiding from intruders are over in Delaware schools.

Events such as the 2012 shootings at Sandy Hook Elementary School have prompted district leaders and school resource officers to question the widely accepted method of corraling students in classrooms until the danger has passed.

Rod Glazer, Delaware City Schools resource officer, said he now instructs teachers to lead students outside during dangerous situations.

"The safest thing to do is to get out of the building," he said." The next-best thing is to barricade the doors -- but they need to always be thinking about getting out of the room."

In addition to upgrading the security and buzzer systems at all buildings, Delaware schools have given additional tasks to custodians and staff members.

"Now as part of their regular rounds, everyone is to make sure the doors are locked during the day," Glazer said. "Everyone is taking responsibility to make sure the schools are locked up and safe."

Glazer said he believes the district is doing a good job at keeping the schools safe, but there is always room for improvement.

"Unfortunately, we live in a society that is reactive instead of proactive," he said. "We can learn from past incidents that have occurred and make changes, but we never know what someone might do."

Glazer said students are trained to keep an eye out for unusual or suspicious actions, and he has been pleased at how well students are responding.

"The students know what's normal and what normally goes on at different times of the day, and they're great about letting us know if something isn't right," he said.

Students, for example, have reported a car they've never seen before parked outside. They've also reported seeing bags placed in unusual locations, Glazer said. One student observed a person he didn't know standing around during a fire drill, Glazer said.

Classrooms that currently are being redesigned are being looked at not just from an academic standpoint, but with safety in mind as well.

"Many of our classrooms were built long before needing to keep these kinds of safety things in mind," Glazer said. "However, I'm hoping all classrooms will have a secondary exit or some route of escape other than just the entrance door."

He said although the district can't prepare for everything that might happen, it is doing what it can to keep people as safe as possible.

"We learn from unfortunate past incidents that occur in our nation and we endeavor to move forward," Glazer said.

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