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LPOSD continues to update student safety

by BEAUX WHITE EAGLE
Staff Writer | September 21, 2022 1:00 AM

SANDPOINT — Student safety continues to take priority at the Lake Pend Oreille School District.

As the school year gets underway, LPOSD Superintendent Dr. Becky Meyer updates the board of trustees on the progress the District Safety Task Force had made since last month's meeting when they outline tasks that would be accomplished by the start of the school year, such as policy and technology updates.

After gathering 15 parents and community members with law enforcement or first responder backgrounds, Meyer and the newly formed task force set out to assess the school district's safety and update where needed based on priority.

"The task force met, and we immediately started brainstorming the kinds of critical deeds for safety in our district," said Crosby Tajan, DSTF member and Sandpoint Middle School assistant principal.

To ensure that safety was cohesive and consistent throughout the district, the group toured each school in the district to conduct assessments with the help of local enforcement. From the information gathered and the recommendations of Mark Feddersen, a task force member and an analyst with the Idaho Office of Safety and Security, the task force created a comprehensive plan for each school and district. The plan also accounted for stakeholder feedback, in an effort to keep in line with the district’s policy of complete transparency and open communication.

"It was interesting to see [how the plan came together] after our first few weeks,” Tajan said. “Then we started getting stakeholder feedback coming in [and] the priorities matched with our stakeholder feedback. So the group feels confident that we are addressing what the stakeholders also thought was very important. We have a good plan for those critical areas that we got to get established before school starts."

The priority system the group used placed tasks such as keyless entry for all schools, lock boxes for law enforcement, and a required visitor check-in system as an immediate priority — all of which were completed before school started. Other updates, such as fencing and a new program known as "watchdog dads," will be accomplished during the school year. Updates that are not as high a priority, such as the possibility of armed guards and intercom system upgrades, will be accomplished as funding is available.

At last month's meeting, Meyer and the task force presented the plan to the board and told them which projects would be finished by the start of the school year. With last week's meeting being the first since the start of the 2022–'23 school year, Meyer was able to update the board on that list.

In a slide presentation, which is available for public viewing on the LPOSD website, Meyer was able to show the board that all but a few priority tasks had been completed. Those had been completed, Meyer said would be soon such as the Raptor System.

“That [the Raptor System] is a required visitor check-in. Everything is in the district office. Mr. Diel, our facilities director, is working with Mr. Brass, the technology director, and we just need a couple of weeks and then those will be installed," Meyer said.

In regard to the district's crisis response system, LPOSD staff will go through the "Move, Secure, Defend" safety seminar, which gives teachers and administrators training on how to handle active shooter situations. Meyer also said that in gathering parental feedback it was found that parents would like to be aware of the district's crisis response plan.

"I will share the entire document with the board. However, we don't want to release that to the public because there are routes that we walk and things that we don't want to release to everyone. But all parents will know where their reunification site is for Plan A. Each school will also have a Plan B," Meyer said.

With more updates still in the works, more updates are expected at the next board meeting. However, to get up to speed with the task force or district board meetings visit LPOSD.org.

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