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Letter: First-responders must be heard on safety issues

Published: Monday, Feb. 4, 2013 1:46 p.m. CDT • Updated: Thursday, Feb. 7, 2013 12:13 p.m. CDT

To the Editor:

When you talk about protecting our youths, the discussion should involve not only the school district but the police and fire departments and other local first-responders. You must invite leaders from the community to the discussion table.

Today, the high schools and middle schools in U-46 have a police officer stationed in them during school hours. I think with the support of the local police officers we need to consider having a police officer at or near all schools in the district, including the elementary and preschools. Perhaps where there are several schools close together, an officer on patrol could be always in the immediate vicinity of the school and checking in with an administrator within the school regularly.

Technology also needs to play an important role in keeping our kids safe. There are already cameras at entry points within our school district, and we need to ensure that people both inside the school and a security officer or a police officer is able to view those cameras as well. Technology goes far beyond video surveillance; there are silent call buttons and mass notification options that need to be considered as well.

We need to make sure that when it comes to the safety of our children, we are having the discussions we need to on a regular basis. The schools should be doing drills — not just fire and tornado drills, but safety and security drills as well.

Frank Napolitano, Bartlett

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