SCS receives School Safety Grant

By: 
Kate Wehlann, Staff Writer

A priority in every school is the safety of its students. Schools work hard to provide a safe environment while making the buildings a welcoming place for students.

Salem Schools have received the School Safety Grant since 2014, which helps pay for the school resource officer from the Salem Police Department and has covered the costs of various security upgrades over the years.

The school received the $50,000 grant this year (matched by the school and community, so totalling $100,000), which Superintendent Lynn Reed said would finish installing the bullet-resistant glass in the interior windows of the buildings and supplement the cost of the SRO. The school had installed bullet-resistant glass on all the exterior windows and began installing bullet-resistant glass inside, such as in the windows of classroom doors.

“We just have to keep layering security,” said Reed.

The school has been increasing security bit by bit since 2008, when the school installed security cameras and fencing around the Bradie Shrum playground. More security cameras came in 2010 and 2011, then ID cards for staff came in 2012. Panic buttons and more security cameras came in 2013 and the school provided five mobile units and two handheld devices for the Salem Police Department in exchange for additional after-school event security. Starting with 2014, the school brought on a school resource officer, more handheld radios for staff, a new public address system for the elementary school, threat assessment activities and state police active shooter training.

2015 brought Safe Sport Zone training for all teachers and many staff members for after-school and event safety training, more security cameras and another safety grant, paying for the SRO and a keyless entry system at the high school. The next year, more cameras were added and the grant paid for the SRO and a keyless entry system at the middle school.

Last year, in 2017, Bradie Shrum added the safe room thanks to a grant from FEMA, more cameras, a safety fence along the Bradie Shrum sidewalk and, thanks to the safety grant, continued funding for the SRO and bullet-resistant glass.

In 2018, the school reports to have 138 cameras district-wide (a more than $200,000 investment) and eight safety specialists — three at Bradie Shrum, two at Salem Middle School, two at Salem High School and one district specialist. The safety grant continues to help fund the school resource officer.

“We want to continue to add safety specialists,” said Reed. “[Certification comes through a] free program from the Indiana School Safety Department. It’s a marvelous opportunity. Each person designated as a safety specialist does basic training the first year and refreshers every year after that.”

The school hopes to provide ALICE (alert, lockdown, inform, counter, evacuate) training for all staff members and is considering more safety measures listed in the school safety plan.

Along with this are social-emotional training for teachers and instruction for students to improve the culture at the school help students who may be struggling emotionally find help in alleviating those feelings that could lead to acting out aggressively. This training will be paid for by a grant totalling nearly $180,000 from the Eli Lilly Endowment.

The school also received a Safe Haven grant to fund the ROCKS program at the elementary and middle schools and Reed said she’s hoping to receive around $28,000 from a Title IV grant that will allow the school to send all the middle school teachers, possibly fifth grade teachers as well, in teams to the Ron Clark Academy in Atlanta, Georgia for professional development.

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