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Working to better secure schools
DIXFIELD -- Work is ongoing to provide additional security in RSU 10 schools, said Supt. Tom Ward at the Jan. 14 meeting of the Board of Directors.
"We're really evaluating how we can better secure our buildings -- lock as many exterior doors as possible, to install buzzer systems to let people in the building. Just trying to see what steps can we take that are going to make sense," said Ward.
"We should have a list of things, especially in the budget process. These things do cost money. Where the money is really going to be needed is for cameras, buzzer systems, latch systems on doors. As I tell people, our major goal is to do what we can to slow down intruders. That's about the best you can do," he said.
"We're all very much aware of the Connecticut situation. They had the locking-door mechanisms. They had access locks. They had those systems in place and they did slow down that intruder. Unfortunately, that's what we have to look at -- what can we do to slow down the intruder," said Ward.
"On the flip side of that, what can we do, as an RSU 10 family and community, to improve the communication system of recognizing these people who are in need, recognizing potential problems, communicating and sharing them with each other," he said.
Board member Tracey Higley, with the Rumford Police Department, noted that local police departments have been given tours of the school buildings in their communities and discussing them.
The RSU 10 schools have also participated in lockdowns and mock drills.
"The prevention side is something we've got to put some time in. We're working hard on it," noted Ward.
In other business, the board accepted the resignation of longtime board member Linda Westleigh.
Westleigh, who had served for 10 years as a board member in RSU 10 and SAD 43, said in a letter that a require course for her work has begun and runs through May.
Other resignations include Dirigo High School teacher Joe Knowlton due to an upcoming two-year military deployment; Kathy Knight, assistant track coach at TWKDMS; Victoria Monsalve, track coach at Mountain Valley High School; Denise Byrd, Mountain Valley Middle School Sp. Ed. Ed. Tech III; and Wendy Knapp, bus driver/custodian.
Appointments include Sarah Thurston as Dirigo High School girls' varsity soccer coach, and Steve Arsenault as TW Kelly Dirigo Middle School varsity football coach.