The Ladue School district has instituted new security measures at Horton Watkins High School in the wake of the Newtown, CT school shootings which left 26 people dead Friday, including 20 students.
Effective Monday, exterior doors at the high school are locked after the first bell, as is the case at other district schools. A letter to parents said the district was planning on making the switch next school year but that events prompted the change.
There is "discussion" of increasing parking lot security at the high school.
Below is the full text of the message sent out to parents:
The physical and mental safety and security of our students is our number one priority in the Ladue School District. Unfortunately, unexplainable, horrible tragedies, such as the one that took place at Sandy Hook Elementary School in Newtown, CT, this past Friday, can occur despite every effort made to secure a school building. However, it does remind us how very important it is to be diligent in keeping our schools secure and to continue exploring ways to improve security wherever possible.
We are extremely thankful to our law enforcement partners in the cities of Creve Coeur, Ladue and Olivette. They have been extremely visible at our school buildings throughout the day today and will continue to be of support to us in this and many other ways, as the days and weeks unfold in the aftermath of this incident.
All elementary and middle schools in the district have utilized external security doors for many years, requiring employees to use security cards for entry and for visitors to be “buzzed in” after having identified themselves through a security camera and intercom system. Beginning this morning, Monday, December 17, 2012, this protocol will be followed at Ladue Horton Watkins High School, as well. Once the first bell rings, all exterior doors will be locked for the remainder of the day. The district had plans underway to institute this change at the beginning of the 2013-14 school year, but made the decision over the weekend to institute these procedures immediately.
This change will not come without some logistical challenges and we are appreciative of the help and support of the high school’s administration, teachers and staff as we work to quickly establish these new procedures. We also appreciate the additional patience required of our parents, students and other visitors who will not have nearly as much freedom to “come and go” during the course of the school day.
In addition to making these immediate changes, there has been discussion of expediting decisions and efforts regarding increased security in the parking lots of the high school.
The safety and security at each of our schools and administrative building will continue to be a top priority for the Ladue School District. This incident will no doubt bring about many more important conversations and additional decisions. We will continue to communicate with our students, parents, staff and community on an ongoing basis and greatly appreciate the support we are receiving as we work through these challenges, while remaining focused on the education of our students.