IDAHO FALLS, Idaho - In a recent Idaho State Department of Education assessment, unauthorized entrance was made in doors other than the designated single entrance point at 71 of the 74 schools studied.
At newly built Dora Erickson Elementary, that's aggressively monitored. Each door has a keyless entry system, except the main doors. If a dangerous intruder came through the main entrance, there's a button in the school's office that closes and locks a pair of doors between the entrance and the classrooms.
"When our patrons approved the $53 million bond a couple of years ago one of our focuses was safety and security so our new elementary schools were built with safety and security in mind," said District 91 spokeswoman Margaret Wimborne.
The new assessment found that only 56 percent of schools had a policy on locking classroom doors. At Dora Erickson Elementary, each teacher has a key that locks from the inside. A lockdown procedure is also posted next to the door.
"The procedure is the teacher comes over, immediately locks the door, and gets his or her kids out of view from the door," said school counseler Ryan Cook.
Holly Curtis started teaching 32 years ago, when lockdown drills weren't an issue.
"We had earthquake drills," said Curtis with a laugh. "But, that was about it, and the fire drills."
The school's staff is asked to route all visitors back to the office if they haven't been checked in at the office and given a visitor pass. The assessment also focused on teachers awareness and handling of visitors. It found the average amount of time an unauthorized person was in a school before being contacted and directed to the office was just under 10 minutes.
"If I see someone that doesn't have a badge on, regardless of who it might be, I always go back and remind them in a nice way to go to the office and get a badge," said Curtis.
You can find more on the Idaho State of Education's comprehensive school safety assessment at http://bit.ly/1c51wol.