Safety upgrades to begin at Hannibal schools this summer

Posted: May. 15, 2013 10:43 pm Updated: Jun. 5, 2013 11:15 pm

Herald-Whig Staff Writer

HANNIBAL, Mo. -- Hannibal schools will begin making safety improvements among district buildings this summer.

The Hannibal School Board announced during its meeting Wednesday a three-phase plan to upgrade safety in the schools. Superintendent Jill Janes said the district plans to complete the first phase this summer, with the second and third phases being completed as more money becomes available.

"Hopefully, as the dollars allow, we can bring in Phase 2," Janes said, possibly this summer as the district zeroes in an actual costs.

The first phase includes extra electronically controlled entrance systems for the Hannibal Career and Technical Center and Hannibal High School. The district will also explore key-scan entrance systems for these facilities. Intercom systems will be improved at Oakwood Elementary School, Stowell Elementary School, Veteran Elementary School, Hannibal Middle School and Hannibal High School. The schools all have areas where announcements cannot be heard.

The district also hopes to place cameras at the entrances of Hannibal High School, Hannibal Middle School, the Hannibal Career and Technical Center, Oakwood Elementary School, Eugene Field Elementary School and Veterans Elementary.

The second phase involves extra intercoms for enhanced emergency and intruder announcements at Oakwood Elementary School, Eugene Field Elementary School and Veterans Elementary School.

In Phase 3, the district hopes to find new ways to secure high school buildings, such as the Korf Gymnasium, the ag shop and the industrial arts building. Once locations are determined, Janes expects additional camera to be installed at these buildings.

Next year, the board hopes to find new ways to educate staff and students about safety procedures.

The safety initiatives come after the district sponsored an educational event early this month featuring Peter Langman, the author of "Why Kids Kill." The session was designed to teach ways to identify suspicious behavior and warnings signs to prevent violent incidents.

In the coming year, the district also hopes to incorporate preparedness training for students as well as staff.

"To me, that's as important as anything we buy," Janes said.