Tracy Borgmeyer, a long-time member of the office staff at Eugene Field Elementary School, is among those adjusting to new security protocols that the Hannibal public school district has implemented for the 2013-14 school year, which begins later this week.
“I’m so familiar with our parents that come to the door. I know pretty much everybody just by sight and voice so I was used to just saying, ‘Hello Tammy, welcome. Please use the left door. It’s unlocked for you,’” she said.
Seeing a familiar face will no longer be adequate to admit someone into any of the Hannibal public school district’s schools.
“The process is going to change prior to school starting so when they show up the first day the parents who have historically just been able to press the button and be allowed in the building, they’re going to be asked their name, purpose of their visit, who they are there to see, all those types of things,” said Rich Stilley, school district business manager. “It’s for the safety and security of everyone in the district. We’re just trying to be proactive and consistent in each of the buildings throughout the district.”
Even though it means change, Borgmeyer understands why the new protocols are necessary.
“It will take some getting used to, even though I know them (parents), to ask those questions. But I do realize that it is a necessity for extra safety,” she said.
The new entrance policy could create bottlenecks at elementary buildings when parents take youngsters to school on Thursday, Aug. 22.
“We understand there may be some delays initially. But over time it will become part of the everyday portion of getting into the schools,” said Stilley.
The new policies were implemented after Hannibal Police Chief Lyndell Davis and Lt. John Zerbonia conducted integrity tests at each public school building earlier this year.
“We were met with very enthusiastic and cooperative administrators from these buildings. They were really open with us; They weren’t trying to hide the good, bad or ugly,” said Davis.
The HPD chief describes the school district’s security changes as “modest, well thought out steps.”
“We’re pleased they’re taking these steps,” said Davis. “Obviously there will be times for parents, including myself, when we’re going to be inconvenienced. It’s not going to be as easy just to walk in and drop something off, but that is a small price to pay for that increased security.”
Page 2 of 2 - According to Stilley, the new policies will be evaluated approximately a month into the school year.
“We’ll see what’s gone right and tweak it where we need to to make it a little bit better. I would consider this a continuous improvement activity,” he said.