School Board to talk security

PORT ALLEN — The West Baton Rouge Parish School Board decided Wednesday it will tackle an in-depth discussion during its first committee meeting in 2013 about improving security measures at district schools.

The board unanimously decided during its regular meeting Wednesday night to change the date of that committee meeting from Jan. 8 to Jan. 14.

School security has become a hot-button issue nationwide following the tragedy in Newtown, Conn., where a 20-year-old man shot and killed 20 children and six adults at an elementary school before committing suicide.

“What went down in Connecticut is unthinkable, but it happens,” School Superintendent David Corona said. “If you have a person with no hope come onto a campus, they’re going to carry out whatever they can. We have to figure out ways to buy some time until we can get someone there who can take them out.”

Corona told the board he has asked principals of all the district’s schools to attend the meeting prepared to discuss security plans and issues.

Board member Toby Sarradet asked that local law enforcement agencies also attend the meeting.

“I think we should have law enforcement take a look at our policies as well to make sure we’re doing things right,” Sarradet said.

Board President Jason Manola said the parish’s 911 center already has the floor plans of every school loaded into its computer system.

“We’re are making some progress,” Manola said. “We just need to do our best to minimize the potential to hurt our teachers, students and our administration.”

Corona said Monday that the district increased the number of uniformed police officers at district schools until students leave for Christmas vacation.

“We have to be realistic about our thoughts,” Corona said about preparations for the January committee meeting. “Whatever we decide to do, we’ll simply be buying time until the authorities can get there and apprehend the person creating this violence.”