Monticello School District evaluates safety policies
MONTICELLO, Ill. (WCCU) —
Schools across the country have reported copycat threats in the seven weeks since the Parkland School Shooting, including Monticello School District.
Superintendent Vic Zimmerman said the district has seen a threat every couple of weeks since that shooting, adding it's normal for a school district that size. He wants to create the right environment for his schools, but also remembering that they are not jails or airports.
“It is certainly a delicate balance between safety, instruction, education and comfort," Zimmerman said.
Monticello Schools already have safeguards in place like a one-door system and a "run, hide, fight" plan. Last summer, cameras were installed in the three elementary schools and approved for the middle and high schools.
The district continues to discuss safety measures like metal detectors, school resource officers and uniforms. Zimmerman also wants to teach students how to react outside of the classroom.
“We are not only trying to teach our kids what to do in school, but also in life because these situations have happened in other places than schools."
By doing so, he wants local law enforcement more visible in schools, not to scare students, but to bring a level of comfort and build relationships.
Zimmerman said ultimately, students are the best eyes and ears of potential threats, especially on social media.
“When they see something, they got to tell somebody," Zimmerman said.
Kathy Dawson, a grandparent and crossing guard, takes matters into her own hands protecting the students every day. She has worked for the school district for 10 years and knows many of the kids on a first name basis.
“Even if it was not my child, I couldn't fathom that either. You really do worry about them," Dawson said.