Students attending Verona High School will undergo new security measures under a pilot program slated to begin next week, officials said Wednesday.
In response to the December 2012 Sandy Hook Elementary School shooting in Newtown, Conn., in which 26 people were killed, district personnel and police officials have been attending twice-monthly meetings and classes to learn measures to improve school safety as well as preparedness, Verona Police Chief Douglas Huber said Wednesday morning.
At the last safety class in February, he said, Verona Schools Superintendent Steven Forte and several police officers attended.
As part of the pilot program, students are being required to have their school identification cards in their possession, Huber said.
“Students can have the IDs on lanyards, on backpacks or on their clothing,” Huber said, “they just have to make sure they have them.”
Verona Schools Superintendent Steven Forte said Wednesday the program would begin on Monday, March 18 and run through the remainder of the school year.
“We’re asking students to adhere to wearing an ID,” Forte said. However, he said, there are no consequences if a student fails to wear the ID, he added.
The pilot program falls under the umbrella of state Department of Education best practices for safe schools mandates, Forte said. The mandate requires the district to work with local police to see who is in the school, make sure whoever is in the school has ID and limit access to the building, he said.
Since the Newtown shootings, district officials, in cooperation with the Verona Police Department have added security in and around the schools, Forte said.
The district now has tightened security and has strict guidelines on answering the main doors of the school during school hours as well as who is granted access into the building.
The superintendent said the district also has an increased police presence at the school and officers now walk through the building and check in at the office, he said.
“There is a cooperative effort between the chief and the district,” Forte said.
The district also now performs extra drills with police and principals meet with students to discuss safety and protection.
Huber stressed while students are not required to have the IDs on lanyards, school administrators, teachers and personnel are required to display their IDs on lanyards.
He said officials want students to participate in the pilot program to “know how important their safety is (to officials).”
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