Inside Education: Safety and building security

The safety of Ridgefield Public Schools students and staff is a top priority for the Board of Education (BOE), including the physical security of our buildings. Unfortunately, past tragedies remind us of the need to remain vigilant and implement preventative strategies for the physical security of our buildings and those within them. The recent incident at Rancho Tehama Elementary School in California in which a gunman was prevented from doing greater harm by the actions of school personnel and his inability to break into an elementary school underscores the importance of outfitting our schools with security features, and training our staff and students on emergency protocols.

Safety and security are governed by state laws and local BOE policy. The operational processes and protocols are overseen by the superintendent and her staff. The Ridgefield Public Schools maintains an All-Hazards Safety and Security Committee. This group of leaders, teachers and school resource officers (police) meets four times a year and reviews our local plan, procedures, practices, and training needs. 

The BOE supports the work of the superintendent and the committee through policy and budget. Our current capital request includes items related to building safety and security. RPS security improvement is ongoing and each year the board supports security initiatives that continue to progress building access restrictions, communication, technology infrastructure, multi-agency coordination, and staff training. Some of the initiatives are clear to those who enter our schools, but most, by design, are not. The board is committed to keeping building security and student safety as a high priority.

This column was submitted to The Press by the nine members of the Ridgefield Board of Education.