December 9, 2019 – West Bend, WI – West Bend School Superintendent Don Kirkegaard spent about 20 minutes during Monday night’s meeting, December 9, outlining new security measures the district would be implementing.
The attention to improving security was prompted by a number of incidents in southeastern Wisconsin on December 2 and 3 when a student with a couple BB guns was taken into custody at Waukesha South High School. Another student was shot by an officer after a stabbing at a high school in Oshkosh.
A bit closer to home, two teens from the West Bend High Schools were cited for disorderly conduct after making threats on social media.
Kirkegaard presented a six-part plan:
- The West Bend School District will have a zero-tolerance policy on any threat and 100-percent of threats will be turned into West Bend Police. Kirkegaard said this policy does not mean automatic expulsion. “Everybody has a right to due process,” he said.
- West Bend East and West High School will change its policy of being open from 6:45 a.m. – 7:30 a.m. and now the high school doors will remain open from 6:45 a.m. – 8 a.m. and 100-percent of visitors will have to enter and exit through West Bend West High School by the field house. The only time WBE will be open after the start of the day is if there is an activity at the theater. There will be a buzz in and buzz out system throughout the day.
- Trained security personnel will be placed at the door at WBE and WBW.
- Starting Jan. 2, 2020 all buildings will be equipped with a Raptor Security System. “A drivers license will be turned over and Raptor will help us check that the person is not on the sex offender registry and it will print an ID and that will be at the entrance at WBW,” said Kirkegaard. Currently the high schools have entry points at both WBW and WBE where an ID is shown and someone signs in and a badge is given on a lanyard and that guest/parent/person then goes to their destination in the building. “This is a check system; Raptor was designed to manage a visitor control system and review the sex offender registry. This system was purchased by WBSD before current events took place but we will put it in place before Jan. 2, 2020.”
- Emergency exits will be reviewed at the West Bend High School. “There are many sets of double and triple doors and they are always locked but someone can leave but it’s unknown if the door is ajar or perched open,” said Kirkegaard. “We’re also looking into an alarm system that would indicate the door was open. Also, 40 new cameras were put in this fall and we’re going to make sure all our exits have alarms and a surveillance system.”
- A new safety/security coordinator will be hired. “That person will reevaluate all our safety procedures, that person will review the high school but also the entire district campus,” said Kirkegaard. “We’re hoping that individual looks at school security and safety; possibly a retired officer or deputy. The coordinator may not be full time, but security has to be their No. 1 responsibility.”
The district hopes to have all the added measures are in place by Jan. 2, 2020.
“Our goal is to make this a friendly and inviting place for everyone,” Kirkegaard said. “We also want people to know if they see something to say something to avoid a tragedy in our district.”
Questioned about the events from last week where students were already in the schools with weapons. “In some cases we can prevent that from happening by having trained security people on board… but not always,” said Kirkegaard. “There’s nothing I can do to guarantee school safety but we can work together to provide the safest school environment.”
Board member Chris Zwygart asked how the district works with local law enforcement.
Kirkegaard praised the working relationship with local law enforcement. “They are there for us and an extremely valuable partner; they’re there with us every step of the way,” said Kirkegaard.
How to pay for added security staff. “We will find the resources necessary to hire the right people,” said Kirkegaard.
There are currently four full-time police resources officers in the West Bend School District.