By Karen Watson
The Mineral County School District has begun implementing safety changes recommended from a 2016 school safety plan developed by Jeff Kaye, School Safety Operations supported by Nevada POOL/PACT.
In the Spring of 2019, all schools in Mineral County began having Shelter-In-Place, Lockout and Lockdown drills. The purpose of these drills were to familiarize staff, students, law enforcement and first responders to the procedures necessary to keep students safe during emergency situations. These situations could be anything from a wild animal on the school campus to a law enforcement issue in the vicinity of the schools or an intruder on school grounds. Prior to the drills, a robocall went to all parents, these drills will continue in the upcoming school year, as they are requirements of law. Parents will again receive a robocall at the beginning of the year reminding them of these drills.
New structural changes include fencing and single-point entries. Both Hawthorne Elementary School and Hawthorne Junior High/Mineral County High School will have fencing around their perimeter in order to keep our students safe. There will be several gates, but the gates are locked from the outside and have push bar exiting from the inside. Push bar exiting allows students and staff the ability to quickly exit, but no one from the outside can enter. Fencing for Hawthorne Elementary has been completed with the exception of the gates, which are on order. The fencing for Hawthorne Junior High/Mineral County High School is in the process of beginning. Since Schurz Elementary School already has a perimeter fence, the fencing within their school grounds will be to secure areas that allow access to vehicles. The fencing project at Schurz Elementary has been bid out and is awaiting the contractor to begin the project.
Single-point entry for Hawthorne Elementary and Hawthorne Junior High/Mineral County High School is in the last stages of completion. All persons entering the school will need to go through the main entrance and then be buzzed into the building. Signatures and identification will be required as to the purpose of visiting the school. A new electronic screening program is being installed. This system is called the Raptor System, which is used to ensure persons registered on a national sex offender list are excluded from all school properties. The single-point entry for Schurz Elementary will be installed as soon as grant funding has been secured.
Parents – please drive by the schools to look at the new changes. We are aware that change is different and issues may arise until everyone is used to these new safety protocols. However, we feel as you do that our children’s safety is worth it.