Triangle private schools reviewing their security

Safety steps taken after Newtown

kpoe@newsobserver.comJanuary 26, 2013 

As some public school systems debate putting security guards in each elementary school, some Triangle private schools have increased security in the month after the Newtown, Conn., school shootings.

Raleigh Christian Academy Administrator Dwight Ausley said the school had never felt the need to employ guards. But conversations have changed since the Dec. 14 massacre.

“We have even talked about hiring some kind of on-campus security guard,” Ausley said. “Our culture has just come to the point in its actions that you leave nothing outside the realm of possibility. There are things that are happening today that I never dreamed would happen.”

The school has asked the Raleigh Police Department to review its safety policies.

Trinity Academy of Raleigh has revised its emergency preparedness plan and is working to improve its badge-access system for increased safety. But it has no plans to put armed guards on campus, said schools spokeswoman Jane Currin.

“We are a private, Christian school, and we just have a real wonderful community here and do not feel the need to employ security in that way,” Currin said.

Other area private schools, such as Ravenscroft and Durham Academy, had guards before December.

Durham Academy employs a 24-hour security team made up of retired officers from the Durham Police Department. Since Newtown, it has increased its number of daytime security personnel, school spokesman Matt Taylor said.

“Immediately in the wake of Newtown, we had a meeting of our administrative team and reviewed our existing procedures and considered any changes we wanted to make,” Taylor said.

The school now locks all its doors except the main entrance to the lower school, which houses classrooms from preschool to fourth grade.

“For our parents, it’s certainly an inconvenience to have fewer access points, but everyone understands the safety of the kids is the top priority,” Taylor said.

Area schools emphasized safety before December’s shooting. But Ausley at Raleigh Christian said what happened in Newtown was so unimaginable, schools must be prepared for anything.

“We developed a crisis manual about eight years ago, and I thought we had everything in it that could possibly happen,” he said. “But now we’re having to add stuff, revise it, tweak it.”

Poe: 919-829-4563

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