Beaumont, Banning school districts review security measures after Northpark Elementary shootings

Banning and Beaumont schools are re-evaluating their school safety measures after the shootings last week at Northpark Elementary School in San Bernardino left a teacher and a student dead and another student injured, raising many questions from parents and the community. The shooter, who was the husband of the Northpark teacher and who took his own life, followed procedure and signed in at the school office, saying he had something to drop off for his wife. There were no red flags because the staff recognized him and had no reason to decline his visit.

But the school has made changes in the past week and now the front door to Northpark Elementary School will be locked. Visitors now have to ring a buzzer to enter the school and everyone will be restricted to the main office. Banning superintendent Robert Guillen said his district has one important rule to keep everyone safe.

“No matter what’s happening, the teachers keep the doors locked,” Guillen said. Once the day begins, the school offices are open and security is in place. Guillen said that this is the first year that security guards are at the elementary schools.

Guillen said the school district has increased security at the middle schools and the high school as well. There is a police officer at the high school. Guillen said he met with his administrators on the day of the shooting to talk about their policies and procedures.

As for installing metal detectors at the schools, Guillen said that that would not be an option in Banning. He worked at other school districts that had them and they would break down. The school district might consider hand held metal detectors, Guillen said. “We’re talking about that now,” he said.

If students need to be evacuated from a school, the centralized location that would be used is Banning High School, Guillen said. Beaumont Superintendent Terrence Davis said that the Northpark incident has made the school district carefully look at its policies. Davis said there is one procedure that is in place at all Beaumont schools.

“The one thing we’ve tried to do at every site is to have one point of entry,” he said. In August 2015, the school district introduced the Raptor system at Brookside Elementary School. The visitor management system requires that everyone check in at the school office and their driver’s license is scanned to create a security badge for when they are on campus.

Davis said that Raptor can also identify and alert school officials to registered sex offenders through a database. Davis said the school district held an administrative meeting Monday to look at the district’s safety procedures as it relates to earthquakes and shootings. A committee was created in Beaumont last year to oversee these kinds of issues, Davis said.

The school district administration will be bringing a nationwide program called “Hour Zero” to the school board in the near future. It is an emergency preparedness program for K-12 schools. Davis said that representatives come out and assess each school campus to determine the weaknesses as far as entrances and to strengthen the security at the sites.

Metal detectors is something that the school district will have to think about and nothing is being ruled out, he said. “I think it’s something we need to consider and determine how that improves or enhances what we’re doing,” Davis said. Educating the staff to be astute about visitors on campus and being vigilant about security and protecting the students is also important, Davis said.

Beaumont Unified School District has worked in conjunction with the Beaumont Police Department on active shooter training, School district staff and the police officers create a scenario on campus that would detail what would happen if there were an active shooter at a school site. Marcedes McFayden, spokesperson for the Beaumont Police Department, said they would call as many resources as they could until they determined if it was a single classroom, then they would work to get the children out of the school and to a safe place. McFayden said securing the students to a safe place depends on the number of students, the location of the school and the time of day that the incident occurs.

McFayden said that the police department does have officers on assignment within the school district.

Staff writer Julie Farren may be reached at [email protected][1].


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