NORFOLK - Following Januarys lockdown when a Norfolk man was charged with bringing a BB pilot inside the school, the Norwood-Norfolk Central School District will be instituting some changes to their building access procedures, and more safety changes are on the way.
State police had charged Steven R. Wells, 60, with third-degree criminal possession of a weapon, first-degree harassment and fourth-degree stalking on Jan. 25 following an early morning incident at the school. He was wearing a shoulder holster with a black Desert Eagle BB pistol, which is considered an imitation pistol, beneath his jacket, troopers said.
Wells arrived at the school at 7:20 a.m. seeking to deliver a package to a teacher he had spent time with in the days before the incident. The teacher told police Wells had been stalking her in the days prior to the incident. Wells was taken into custody without incident at the school that morning.
Since then, the district has examined its access and will institute new procedures later this month.
In light of recent tragic events in Newtown, Conn., and with a lockdown fresh in our memories, we have been examining our own safety procedures, Superintendent Elizabeth A. Kirnie said in a letter to parents and families.
Starting on Feb. 25, when students return from their week-long break, there will only be one secure entrance, at the middle school. The high school entrance will be for students only and for public use after school hours, and the doors to the elementary lobby will be for students only during the school day and open to the public for public events.
Parents and family members must enter through the Middle School entrance only and wait for their children in the entryway, Mrs. Kirnie said in her letter. Except with special permission, parents/guardians may not escort students to their lockers or classrooms. Parents/guardians may enter the school for verified appointments only.
She said that while they regretted limiting access during schools hours they had been advised by law enforcement officials that this is in the best interests of the safety of our staff and students.
Mrs. Kirnie told board of education members this week that she had talked with representatives from area police departments, as well as school staff and parents since the lockdown.
Ive started to compile spreadsheets with recommendations. There are certain things that would be more appropriate here. Some things really cry out for a building project, she said, recommending that board members approve seeking proposals for a building safety project. The board unanimously passed that motion.
They already have a resource officer room with computer access in case they are able to bring in a school resource officer, Mrs. Kirnie said, and the building project would address other safety issues.
Also on the safety front, the superintendent said they need to address setting up sites off the school grounds where parents and family members could go to obtain more information in the event of another emergency.
The last place you should be coming to is school where there may be emergency first responders, she said.
Mrs. Kirnie said she will soon be talking with Norfolk Town Supervisor Charles A. Pernice and Norwood Mayor James H. McFaddin about possible sites for parents.
Meanwhile, the district is planning for active shooter training exercise at the school on Feb. 20-21. It will be held under New York State Police supervision, she said.
They play to put an announcement on their marquee about the exercise so family members and residents will know its training only and not an actual incident.
Its a real scenario taken very seriously, Mrs. Kirnie said.