Quincy School Board rethinks security
Wed, 15 Dec 2010 18:33:36 GMT —
UPDATED: January 13 at 4:35 PM
The Quincy Public School District Board of Education is stepping up security at its meetings.
Beginning at next week's meeting (January 19th), attendees now will have to get screened by metal detectors.
Superintendent Lonny Lemon says talks of increased security began after the shooting at a Florida school board meeting in December.
Since then, two more shootings have occurred that prompted Lemon and the school board to decide to add the security measures.
"This is not just about us. This is about anybody that comes to those public meetings. We have parents there, we have kids there often and students, press, citizens and teachers and staff. I think that might have been the selling point, it's our obligation, if we can, to protect everybody not just us," said Lemon. "The bottom line is that given the circumstances that have happened nationwide in recent memory and given the times, we felt that we had the ability to do it at no extra cost to the district and given what has happened in the last month, it was probably a prudent thing to do."
School board meetings are held at Baldwin School and Lemon says metal detectors are already in place there, that's why it will not cost the district anything extra to add security.
UPDATED: January 13 at 11:35 a.m.
On January 19th the Quincy School Board will have increased security measures for their board meeting.
Discussion was prompted by recent shootings in both Florida and Nebraska and the Arizona shooting of Rep. Gabrielle Giffords where six people's lives were lost.
Everyone attending the meeting will be screened through metal detectors, and wands, before being admitted.
This will require some additional time, so the school board asks that those planning on attending the meetings come early so that the meeting can begin on time.
Click here to read the press release.
Tri-State schools are looking at their security measures during school board meetings after a man opened fire at a Florida school board meeting Tuesday night.
During a meeting in Panama City, a disgruntled man spray painted the wall of the meeting room, pulled a gun and fired shots at male school board members at point blank range. A security guard was able to subdue the shooter as he patrolled the building. Click here to see some of that video.
We checked with the Quincy School district to see if changes are planned for Wednesday night's school board meeting.
Are school board meetings safe?
Quincy School District Chief of Security Billy Meyer said, "People should feel safe. But obviously if you bring a handgun, it's illegal and won't be tolerated."
Meyer says the district has strict policies in place to make sure every school board meeting is a safe one. Uniformed security guards are on duty at all times inside meetings, and outside the doors during closed sessions. But he says what you may not realize is that there are also security guards dressed in plain clothes sitting in the audience, to make sure everyone is safe.
With that security presence Meyer says things would have been different in Quincy.
Meyer said, "At the point he defaced public property he would have been taken into custody."
Superintendent Lonny Lemon says at least at this time he feels additional security isn't needed.
Lemon said, "We've had tremendous presence at board meetings, not to say something couldn't happen, but we are as prepared as any district in the United States."
Lemon says right now he and school board members are satisfied with the level of security at school board meetings, but he says security could easily be upgraded if deemed necessary in the future. There are already metal detectors installed at Baldwin elementary which could be used to scan the public before meetings if needed.