School officials finish security audit of BCSC facilities

Prompted by parent concerns, Bartholomew Consolidated Schools recently finished a review of security at the 18 buildings in the school  system. School officials say that there are some changes that need to be made, but they are not proposing major changes such as metal detectors or arming teachers.

Dr. Jim Roberts, BCSC superintendent, told the school board this week that he and Larry Perkinson, the district’s student assistance coordinator, made an unannounced tour of the school buildings and checked every exterior door — about 1,000 in all — to make sure they were secured.

Roberts said that they did find some improvements that could be made. But they do not want to take drastic steps.

Roberts said the school district has put together a wish list of items they would like to address, if funding was made available by the state. But rather than equipment, or arming teachers, Roberts said the district would like to invest more in personnel such as school resource officers and those helping students with mental health issues.

But there are some physical needs that should be addressed, he said:

BCSC Parent Jenni Muncie-Sujan was one of those who brought concerns to the school board last month.She formed a Facebook group called BCSC Safety Now Parent Forum which has more than 650 members.

She said the school district needs to ensure that parents’ concerns are addressed and they are kept informed.

Sujan said her personal preference would be to install metal detectors, alarm all but two doors into each building and require key cards for entrance for students and staff.

She said the school board does not have the option to do nothing to improve security

Muncie-Sujan said that a recent survey of members of the Facebook group indicated there was some public support for increased spending to address safety issues at the schools.

School board president Jeff Caldwell said that if the school district finds an effective measure that needs to be taken, he is confident that the funding will be found to implement it.

Caldwell  said the district needs to make sure to balance any changes so as not to disrupt the climate and culture of the schools. Including their after-hours use as community meeting places.

He said that the people in the school district, both students and staff, are the primary item to be addressed and to rely on for school security.