|A new security system was installed at the Henryetta school buildings over the holidays. That requires visitors to either have a special coded card or be admitted by a locked door system.
That new system was the subject of a meeting Monday night with parents and school officials at the new kindergarten building.
Elementary Principal Kelly Furer told the nearly two dozen parents the new security locks have been installed to provide more protection for students and teachers. “We have had several cases where there were people in the building that appeared to be under some kind of influence. That is scary when I have 200 students.”
|She apologized to the parents if there was a perception that the school was wanting to keep parents from the buildings.
The new security system was approved by the school board last year. Financing it came from the savings in the bond issue with lower contractor bids.
School superintendent Dwayne Noble said if the savings are enough, the school will be looking at installing surveillance cameras through the area. He said current cameras are old. “We want to be proactive. We don’t want an incident where we should have done that.”
Henryetta school safety director Rick Enis said both police and fire departments will have access cards in each of their vehicles in the event they need to get into the buildings.
He pointed out Monday was the third day the buildings had ben locked. “Is it perfect, no,” he said. “Our main priority is the children. These kids are protected. In the past, it has been like a mall over there (the elementary building.”
Furer said the ID requirement was set because school officials don’t always know the person wanting to come into the building.
She assured the parents that, int he case of class parties, all parents are welcome. “We want the parents to come to the classrooms,” she said before the meeting.
When questioned about the new building location, Furer said the original bond issue was to place it closer to the current elementary building. She explained there were issues with the land and sewer lines. “It would have been a large expense to do that,” added Noble.
One parent suggested the school look into bringing several cooks to the new kindergarten building and serving lunch instead of students walking out of the new building to the cafeteria.
It was pointed out that the city council has approved closing 17th Street (the roadway separating the two schools) to ease traffic issues.
“If we owned that street, we can build gates to close it off,” Furer said.
She invited anyone with concerns about the new school to email their questions to the school officials and school board.