The Ottumwa Courier

January 23, 2013

Van Buren school district looks at safety measures

RUSTY EBERT
Courier correspondent

KEOSAUQUA — The Van Buren school district is considering additional safety measures in the wake of last month’s shooting at a Connecticut elementary school.

Van Buren Superintendent Lisa Beames told board members at their recent meeting that the school has met with a number of stakeholders concerning what needs to be done.

“We have met with local law authorities, our crisis teams and as an administrative team to consider changes we may need to take in light of Sandy Hook,” said Beames. Any changes, she added, would be brought to the board next month.

“The Crisis Team, administrative team and staff have been meeting to review and possibly update our emergency plans to ensure our building security is at the highest level,” Secondary Principal Chuck Banks told school board members. “We will be holding additional drills in the near future.”

A number of years ago, the district received a multi-year federal grant from the Safe Schools Healthy Students initiative, which began under President Bill Clinton in 1999. In all, the district was awarded a three-year, $3 million grant in 2005 by the U.S. Departments of Education, Health and Human Services and Justice. The district hired a project director and undertook a number of projects designed to improve the school safety. Among the changes were added security cameras and electronic door locks to the elementary and secondary centers.