JAMESTOWN – The Jamestown School District has a strong security system in place to help prevent individuals who may want to do harm to students and staff from entering school buildings.
That’s according to Jamestown School Superintendent Bret Apthorpe, who talked this week with WRFA about school safety in the wake of the school shooting in Florida that claimed the life of 17 people earlier this month.
During an interview that will run it’s entirely later this week on WRFA, Apthorpe said that unlike many schools in the south and out west that have open air campuses, Jamestown schools have single buildings that can work to the district’s advantage.
“The governor of Florida is talking about introducing legislation to harden campuses in Florida and in fact, many of the campuses in the South and Southwest are what they call ‘open air campuses.’ They don’t really have hallways and the cafeterias are even outside, so he talks about hardening the campuses,” Apthorpe said. ” I think Jamestown schools is a great model for what that means. Every school building has what we call a ‘person trap.’ You have to get buzzed into two sets of doors, so even if you get buzzed into one door, that’s not enough. You have to get buzzed into a second door. And we have cameras – dozens and dozens of cameras in all our buildings.”
In addition, the school district currently has three school resource officers from the Jamestown Police Department to help ensure student safety – although the district itself is comprised of nine different schools. But sometimes regular police patrols will also include the area around Jamestown schools as part of their regular patrol, so Apthorpe says there is additional police involvement in addition to the SROs.
The district also has procedures in place that is frequently reviewed by teachers and staff to ensure they know what to do if there is a threat either inside our outside of one of the city’s schools.
Despite these and other safety measures that are already in place, Apthorpe said the district is not resting on its laurels and will continue to review policy and procedure to determine what changes can be made to ensure the highest level of safety for students.
Much of what Apthorpe discussed this week with WRFA was also covered during Tuesday’s Jamestown School Board meeting.
Apthorpe’s full interview on WRFA will be broadcast this Thursday at 5pm on Community Matters. In addition to student and school safety, he will also discuss bullying, the school budget, and an upcoming community stakeholders meeting.