Isle of Wight schools review lockdown procedures


by Karen Hopkins, 13News

Posted on February 19, 2013 at 7:01 PM

Updated Tuesday, Feb 19 at 7:01 PM

ISLE OF WIGHT -- Area schools are taking a closer look at security since the mass shooting at Sandy Hook Elementary.

Isle of Wight schools are starting to audit their lockdown drills for elementary, middle and high schools.

At Westside Elementary School Tuesday, an announcement was made telling teachers to lock their doors and turn off their lights for an intruder drill.  Officers then tried to break into rooms, banging on doors and windows.

The goal of the drill was to see how teachers and students respond to intruders.
Overall, most teachers and staff passed the drill.  Some rooms were left unlocked and some rooms did not have locks.  One teacher let the intruder inside with kids in plain sight.

School officials and police will use the results to find better ways to keep kids safe.

“Being prepared and how you react is most important in a crisis situation,” Superintendent Katrise Perera said.

The drills included training on both active shooter situations and bioterrorism.

The effort is supported by the Isle of Wight Sheriffs Department, Smithfield Police Department, Windsor Police Department, Virginia State Police, and Isle of Wight Emergency Services and Management.

“We are pleased to have the support of our local and state law enforcement officials to work with us as a unified team to make sure our students are safe. That is my number one priority as a Division Superintendent,” said Perera.

Since tragedy struck Sandy Hook, the Isle of Wight school Crisis Response Team and members of local law enforcement recently met to discuss best practices and procedures for crisis management.  Auditing lockdown drills was one suggestion from the conference.

Additionally, a digital camera technician has been hired to analyze the current security camera system for all division buildings. 

“I have had interactions with several organizations during times of crisis over the years and this school division has always been a leader in proactive response,” said Chief of Emergency Services Rusty Chase.