Principal Plans Increased Security After Newtown Shooting

By Paul Biasco on December 18, 2012 6:00am | Updated on December 18, 2012 1:55pm

 A parent looks back after dropping her child off at Oscar Mayer Magnet School Tuesday morning.
A parent looks back after dropping her child off at Oscar Mayer Magnet School Tuesday morning.
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DNAinfo/Paul Biasco

 

LINCOLN PARK — Interior classroom doors will be locked and visitors will be limited to a single entrance at Oscar Meyer Magnet School under new security measures adopted in the wake of the Connecticut school shootings.

At an emotional local school council meeting Monday night, Katie Konieczny, principal of Oscar Mayer Magnet, 2250 N. Clinton, told parents about new security measures. Some parents wept as during discussions of lockdown drills with a  Chicago Police Department officer.

"It was a tough day here at Mayer," Konieczny told parents at her first meeting since returning from a 3-month maternity leave.

"It's just sad," said Farah Denahan, a member of the school's local school council, as Konieczny explained the lockdown drills.

Konieczny said she met with school staff immediately after hearing the news of the shooting late in the day Friday. Parents were sent an email explaining the school's plans to update its security approach and its work with staff to make sure they are informed of emergency protocols.

On Tuesday, she planned to meet with each grade level to discuss security changes.

Under the new approach, classroom doors will be locked during class and teachers will be equipped with key chains for their wrists. The school will also put up blinds on classroom door windows, which was recommended by Chicago Public Schools, according to the principal.

Guests will be required to enter though a single main door to check in and wear stickers indicating they are visitors, according to Konieczny. There had been a second entrance for visitors but the principal said the video camera was of lower quality than the one at the main entrance.

During the LSC meeting, some parents worried that practicing lockdown drills —  where teachers and students lock themselves in a classroom and crouch with the lights off — might terrify some students if the drills come too soon after the Connecticut tragedy.

 The main entrance of Oscar Mayer Magnet School will be the only entrance parents, teachers and students will be allowed to enter the building.
The main entrance of Oscar Mayer Magnet School will be the only entrance parents, teachers and students will be allowed to enter the building.
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DNAinfo/Paul Biasco

Konieczny said she plans to wait a few weeks for the drills and requested that a CPD officer come back in January.

She admitted that with the new security measures the school is "going to feel different."

"We are going to practice this so it's a norm," she said.

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