There are certain moments in our country’s history that change the status quo of how we go about our daily lives. The events that took place on Dec. 14, 2012, when a deranged shooter gunned down 20 students and six members of the staff at Sandy Hook Elementary School, was one of those moments.
It was a moment where parents learned school buildings could no longer be equipped just to simply educate. Now, they must also be built to protect.
That lesson spoke to school officials loud and clear.
Administration at Louisa County Public Schools listened.
Over the past summer, Jouett Elementary School was one of several schools throughout the community that beefed up security measures for the upcoming school year. Perhaps the biggest step towards better security was the installment of a second set of double doors inside where the school office is located, adding another formidable layer of protection between an intruder and students.
“You feel ownership for all the students and staff that you have in your building,” JES principal Michael Pelloni said. “That thought crosses your mind often. I believe in Louisa we’ve been very proactive with the number of security measures we’ve put in place. These added doors will provide an additional level of security.”
In previous years, visitors only needed to pass through the initial doors at the front of the school, leaving the building more vulnerable to intruders. Now, visitors will be admitted after submitting a request by the school’s video surveillance system outside the office.
“If you’re somebody on the outside and there’s suspicion, either you can see a weapon or a threat has been made, you’re not going to be allowed entry,” Pelloni said. “At that point, the secretary would alert law enforcement.”
Yet even if someone were to breach the initial doors, passing through the newly installed entrance is nearly impossible. Made of heavy metal and locked throughout the day, the doors require not only permission from the secretary, but a swipe from a security card to allow visitors to pass through to the area where students are in the school.
To read the entire story, see the Aug. 22 edition of The Central Virginian.