Two months have passed since the Newtown tragedy. This event shook many Americans to their core - raising concerns about gun violence, mental health treatment and safe schools. In Wayland, we began a review of school security and safety procedures. I am writing to give you a brief update on the course of action we have taken and the decisions we have made. To begin, it is important to recall that Wayland has had a significant number of security measures in place for some time. This includes buzzer entry systems at the elementary schools, emergency response plans for each building, a crisis guide for each classroom, and emergency drill protocols.
Since December, we have heightened our communication regarding safety preparedness with the Wayland Police and Fire Departments. Officers from both departments have been helpful in conveying current thinking about school safety and in guiding our way. Here are our plans to date:
- Each elementary and secondary school has already conducted, or will shortly conduct, a school-wide lockdown drill. Principals have informed their school community about these drills through their newsletters.
- Each school is in the process of reviewing and updating its Safety and Emergency Response Manual. We will subsequently revise our Crisis Response Reference Guide for School Personnel - a flip book that is placed in every classroom.
- We plan on phasing in a new system, beginning at the elementary school level, in which all staff members will wear identification badges.
- We plan on upgrading the door hardware, locks, buzzer, and camera security systems throughout the schools. We will do so according to available funding. The School Committee has been supportive of this goal. Here is a list of building-specific changes, some of which are already underway, some of which await funding:
The Children's Way
- The Children's Way will be outfitted with new doors and locks, and a buzzer system will be installed. This will occur in the next few months. New two-way radios have also been purchased.
Claypit Hill, Happy Hollow, and Loker Elementary Schools
- Each school will be outfitted with new interior door hardware. This work will take place at Claypit Hill and Happy Hollow first, since plans were already well underway for these schools. We hope the work will be completed by the end of April in these schools and by the end of August at Loker.
- The current swipe entry card system used by the staff will be expanded to include additional strategic doors around the buildings.
- Select exterior doors will receive new locking hardware as needed.
- A camera will be installed pointing toward each front entrance so that office staff can clearly see anyone whom they buzz into the buildings.
Wayland Middle School
- A buzzer system will be installed at the front entrance, similar to that at the elementary schools. A camera will also be installed so that office staff can clearly see anyone whom they buzz into the building.
- The current swipe entry card system used by the staff will be expanded to include additional strategic doors around the building.
- We will seek funds for the replacement of interior locks once work on the doors at the elementary schools is completed.
Wayland High School
- Additional security cameras, pointed toward the main entrances at the school, will be installed.
- We are making progress, although safety and security is always a work in progress. Each of the above measures, by itself, offers no guarantees. Collectively, however, we believe they represent a prudent approach to making our schools safer and more secure.
Superintendent of Schools