Blue Earth Area will lock doors

BLUE EARTH – All doors at Blue Earth Area Schools’ three campus sites will be locked as of Monday, says Superintendent Evan Gough.

“Student safety is our No. 1 priority,” he said. “We felt this was a great way to make our buildings even safer.”

Previously, one main door at each site has remained unlocked – that is where the intercom system will be located. Visitors will press a button that will ring in the secretary’s office. The secretary will see the person on camera and welcome them to the school. Visitors will identify themselves and why they are there; the secretary “will buzz them into the office and they’ll check in like they have been,” Gough noted.

The doors will be open before and after school hours to accommodate people who come and go for various activities during those times.

It will not affect student activities, Gough said.

“The staff out at recess have card access to get in,” he said. “During the day, the students won’t notice any difference.”

The decision to lock down the schools was made by the Health and Safety Committee for the district.

“What this does is helps us control better who’s coming into our building,” Gough said.

“We started planning for this last spring,” he said. “It just took a while to get all the equipment. I’m guessing this has been a popular item for schools to order.”

When asked if the intercom system is a reaction to the school shooting in Newtown, Conn., in December 2012, Gough said, “Back up to April 20, 1999, (the date of the shooting at Columbine High School in Colorado). Any time there’s a school shooting, educators and administrators do our due diligence to access how we keep everyone safe in our schools.”