Full letter: West Liberty-Salem to improve its security plan following shooting

WEST LIBERTY, Ohio (WKEF/WRGT) - More than three weeks after Logan Cole, a student at West Liberty-Salem was shot at school the school's superintendent says the district is working to improve its security plan.

Superintendent Kraig Hissong released this statement Feb. 22:

Our students and staff are to be commended for their response and implementation of our active shooter emergency procedures on January 20th, utilizing what we have learned through ALICE training. As we continue to reflect on the events linked to the school shooting, it is a District priority to correct or improve issues related to the safety and security of students and staff associated with this type of incident. To date, the district has begun the process of identifying these issues. I would like to share with you some of the progress we have made in the last couple of weeks.
1. A major safety concern was the difficulty to evacuate through our current classroom windows. These windows and their screens had to be broken in order for students and staff to gain access to the outside. Although this was achieved in most classrooms, the difficulty to do so cost precious time and delayed a quick exit. To solve this, the district has proposed retrofitting existing windows will a piano style hinge that will allow the window to open fully. All hardware and screens have been removed from the window, so the quick motion of lifting one lever will unlock the window and allow it to open to its full capacity. The District is recommending that we place one emergency egress window in each classroom and office space where there is no direct outside door.
2. As part of the building project, all classroom doors are to receive thumb-turn locks on the inside of the door to make it easier for the door to be secured from inside the classroom without the door key in case of an emergency. At the conclusion of the project, all doors were to receive this type of lock. In the meantime, we have accelerated the installation of thumb-turn locks in classrooms. It is recommended by the District to replace these thumb-turn locks that require a full rotation to set, with a quarter turn lock including indicator, to ensure that the lock has been engaged. The thumb-turn locks should be completed in all classrooms by next week. The final quarter turn locks with indicators will be ordered and installed following board approval.
3. Samples of pull down window shades for standard classroom door windows have been ordered to replace the laminated paper that we use to cover windows now. This will provide a faster way to conceal people in the room from someone in the hallway. The shade will be able to be placed in the up or down position as necessary. These will be installed after a final choice has been made.
4. As part of the building project, ballistic resistant, security film was included to be applied to all glass windows and doors at the main entrance of the building to prevent a window from being easily broken by an intruder to gain access to the building. The District will now expand the use of this product to all exterior and interior doors and interior windows where the security film can be applied as an added measure of security.
5. To improve our Active Shooter procedures, the district will be conducting a review and audit of our response to the active shooter on January 20th. This will be done in conjunction with the Department of Homeland Security and local law enforcement/first responders. In addition, we are collecting information from staff regarding this event. The goal will be to identify ways to improve our safety procedures so that all parties involved are better prepared. We will also continue to provide ALICE training to our staff and students in conjunction with local law enforcement on a regular/routine basis.
6. Other items being investigated at this time are the employment of a School Resource Officer, door barricades, and metal detectors. No decision has been made at this time on these two items. At the conclusion of the construction project, the school will also be equipped with panic buttons in the office area and an emergency alert (911) system that can be activated by any staff member throughout the building.
On behalf of all our school district staff, I want to thank you for allowing WL-S to educate your children. The safety of our students has always been an important priority to our district. We will continue to take all reasonable precautions to ensure that your child has a safe learning environment. Again, thank you for your support of our school over the last few weeks. This has been an emotional and challenging event that we can learn and grow from as a school district and community.
Last, I want to express how happy I am to have Logan Cole return to school this week. The courage, strength, and positive attitude he has
displayed is an example for us all to aspire to and learn from.
He is Tiger Strong.
Kraig Hissong
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