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Hannibal Courier - Post - Hannibal, MO
  • Changes coming?

  • At Mark Twain Jr./Sr. High School, the doors to the main lobby leading from the parking lot and bus drop off are unlocked throughout the day.
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  • At Mark Twain Jr./Sr. High School, the doors to the main lobby leading from the parking lot and bus drop off are unlocked throughout the day.
    Upon entering, visitors are left with a choice.
    To the left is a cafeteria. To the right is a hallway that brushes past administrative offices. No matter which route you take, it leads to classrooms filled with students, teachers and staff.
    Anyone can get in.
    "Anybody can get in whether (the doors) are locked too. That's my thing," Jake Moss, Mark Twain Sr. High School principal and school district facilities chairperson said Tuesday afternoon. "There's no amount of security we can provide to keep everybody out. If somebody wants in bad enough, they're going to get in."
    But things may change in January when the facilities committee meets and considers upgrading campus security.
    The Jr./Sr. high school located on Mo. Route 19 near Center has no buzz-in system. Moss said New London Elementary School does have such a system and Center Elementary School keeps all doors locked during the school day.
    "If you come to Center Elementary, you're going to knock on the door and if somebody hears you, they're going to come let you in," Moss said.
    Along with Mark Twain Jr. High School Principal Delores Woodhurst, Moss sent home a letter informing parents that "procedures have been revised" since the Friday's school shooting in Newtown, Conn. The letter states, "All classroom doors will continue to be locked and closed during each class period. The only time that classroom doors are unlocked is during passing time between classes, during which time teachers supervise students from their doorway and access from outside the building has been limited."
    Moss said most classroom doors are locked from the outside and a "minor change" is the elimination of access points on the Jr. High end of the campus.
    "One thing we've asked to do here (at the Jr./Sr. High School), obviously since the events last Friday, we've made sure that our classroom teachers keep their doors locked at all times during the day," he said. "If we ever have to go into a lockdown situation, that's one less thing that the teacher's going to have to do is walk to the door and make sure the door is locked. Administrators have keys, custodians have keys, people who need to access the building have a key to get in. The idea is to have it locked down."
    Unlike fire, tornado and earthquake drills, intruder drills — described by Moss as "Code Reds" — are only discussed with teachers and students. He said having intruder drills could start a panic and a number of phone calls would flood the school from concerned parents. The principal also said in a world of technology a simple text message to parents would have the same trigger-effect and the many phone calls would keep those in charge at the school from doing their jobs.
    Page 2 of 2 - When it comes to the teachers, they're all advised of procedures at the start of the academic year.
    "It is what it is. We do try to prepare our teachers. I feel like our teachers are very aware of the policies. Each year at the beginning of the year, we make sure all of the policies and procedures are posted in their room, either by the door or by the window," Moss said. "Anytime you have a situation like this, whether it's in a large city or small-scale, it heightens awareness."
    New and revised procedures are expected to be considered at the January meeting — which currently has no date — including buzz-in systems.
    "We'll consider it for all the facilities," Moss said.

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