Rockwood School District parent and Wildwood resident Nancy Robinson asked Board of Education directors at Thursday's board meeting to consider securing a police officer for every Rockwood school building. She said 20 Rockwood schools still need an officer, which consists of 19 elementaries and an early childhood center.
She also said she spoke to some attendees after last week's Safe Schools Partnership meeting to "get their take," because it wasn't open to the public. For Patch post-meeting coverage of that regional safety event, read: Intruder Disarmament Training Offered to School Districts Around St. Louis
"Many feel the best way to have safety is to have an officer in each building. We welcome that, if it’s truly the best way to keep students safe," said Robinson.
Later on the same agenda, Rockwood Assistant Superintendent Dennis Griffith presented a handful of immediate needs to enhance safety within district. "Rockwood is on the cutting edge of safety, compared to many other districts, however, we also always look for additional things to do," he said.
The tally for the five steps is $258,000 during this current school year. The recommendations were:SAFETY STEP COST TO CURRENT SCHOOL YEAR PROJECTED ANNUAL COST Immediately hire an additional hall monitor at every secondary school for the remainder of the 2012–2013 school year. $94,000 $240,000 Lease four police cars to allow school resource officers to do some elementary school visits to increase the police presence at elementary schools. These four cars will be shared. Eureka Police and Ballwin Police already provide cars. $20,000 $51,000 Provide officers patrolling schools doing walk-throughs or writing reports on school property; provide a meal to officers if they are on-site at lunch time. Goal is to help increase police presence. $4,000 $10,000 Allocate funds for security station desks. $80,000 Employ personnel to staff the main door buzzer system from 6:30–8 a.m. and 4–6 p.m., and purchase buzzer systems where needed. $60,000
Police chiefs said it would be tough to fill quickly that many school resource officer positions, said Griffith. "We opted to increase police presence in the mean time."
Griffith also emphasized the need to reinforce and refine existing safety protocols, which costs nothing but time and diligence.
Rockwood's directors voted unanimously to transfer the $258,000 needed from existing fund balances to support these initiatives.
Administrators also asked for authorize to hire 19 hall monitors for the 2013-14 school year for the secondary schools, stating it would place three at each high school and one at each middle school and two at Crestview Middle School because of its size. "The 19 total would be inclusive of any hall monitors currently employed and the 10 new ones noted in the first new safety initiative," Griffith said.
He said additional hall monitors are important for placing in the line of sight of doors, especially being dedicated to certain doors during pickup and drop-off times.
He said other safety items will be suggested after more discussion and planning among the administrative council, Rockwood cabinet, school resource officers and area police agencies.
Rockwood Superintendent Bruce Borchers said the new additions will enhance security, however the focus will remain on long-term safety solutions. "All schools have crisis plans that are continually under review, and we're committed to doing whatever we can to strengthen our school safety efforts."