A look at the safety measures aimed at keeping students safe at Bloomington Public Schools – CBS News | Directory Mayhem

BLOOMINGTON, MN– Parents, children and educators get into the rhythm of the start of the school year. As they prepare for classes, administrators work to keep students safe.

State law requires at least five lockdown drills a year. The Ministry of Public Security says the first should take place in the first 10 days of school.

WCCO visited Oak Grove Middle School in Bloomington for a rare look at the safety measures the district is taking and the best practices its director of emergency management, Rick Kaufman, says.

Oak Grove Middle School welcomed students back last week. The building’s exterior was designed to protect them, with bulletproof glass that takes some time to break.

When the day begins, only the main door remains unlocked to visitors. The door straight ahead is locked. It’s covered to limit what people can see inside. On the left is the office and single point of entry. A person must be identified and admitted before the next door opens.

“Different barriers protecting access to our schools,” Kaufman said.

23 years ago, Kaufman worked for a Colorado school system responding to the Columbine mass shooting. He has dedicated his career to school safety.

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“Our staff really work on: prevention, intervention, mitigation, identification of children at risk, threat assessment practices, mental health interventions,” Kaufman said.

He calls it a multi-pronged approach that is consistent across all schools in the district.

“The biggest concern we have is people who are already in the building because they are a student or staff. So how do we mitigate the damage and reduce the chance of hurting others once it’s in the building,” Kaufman said.

If there is a security situation, there are buttons to lock doors.

“A third button is really in the most severe cases. This puts the school on hold, and that triggers a recorded alert message to get people moving people into their restricted areas,” Kaufman said.

There are strobe lights to warn of noisy places like the gym and cafeteria. Interior doors close and create barriers. Every Day: Classroom doors are keyless and locked. The glass on the door is often covered to act as a deterrent.

Kaufman says a safety audit identified where children and educators should go in the room in an emergency: Away from the door.

“We never want a student to be in the frame of a door that could be shot through. They’re trained on where to go to get out of line of sight,” Kaufman said.

On the wall of each classroom is a reminder of what to do in different situations.

“You don’t know all the work that we do behind the scenes to prepare,” Principal Brian Ingemann said.

Principals like Ingemann are an integral part of the functioning system.

“A lot of what we’ve done just adapts to what’s happening in society,” said Ingemann.

He becomes the emergency commander. He and others in the leadership have radios with a frequency channel to call for help. And they can access multiple cameras strategically placed around the school at any time.

Watching and listening to children is also part of the plan. This is the intervention piece.

“We’re always looking for signs of a change in mood, behavior and attendance in classes,” Ingemann said.

Ingemann says that a student attending a school should not notice most security features. You should stay in the background.

“They come back to school, it’s all about those relationships and memories, and we do things that make sure the environment is designed for teachers and students to have the best possible learning experience,” said Ingemann.

Kaufman has also worked with schools in Waconia, Richfield, and St. Louis Park on her plans.

Many of Bloomington’s security improvements were paid for by a referendum approved 10 years ago.

Bloomington Public Schools also shared information for parents including: resist the urge to call or text your child in an emergency and say a ring or vibration could put them in danger.

There is also an app you can download to provide tips. Last August, the Bureau of Criminal Apprehension launched See It, Say It, Send It.

Designed to give people a place to share tips about threats in schools or places of worship. A scholarship made it possible. According to the BCA, it was downloaded from around 400,000 Minnesota IP addresses. About two dozen tips have been received so far. The BCA says it’s not intended to replace the 911 emergency call.

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