South Bend school board discusses school safety

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SOUTH BEND, Ind. (WNDU) - The South Bend Community School Corporation is looking to beef up security, but there was no vote Tuesday night on a proposed $97,000 plan to be funded by the Department of Homeland Security.

"A comprehensive vulnerability assessment for every one of their school buildings to look at what currently they have in security infrastructure. Where are their strengths, where are their areas for improvement?” Dottie Davis of Davis Corporate Training, Inc said.

"We took the contract off because we wanted to ensure that we had talked it over with our teachers union and that we had all the details right. That's a really important piece to get right, and we didn’t think we had it all ready to go," Superintendent Dr. Todd Cummings said.

There's more to hash out.

"We wanted to make sure we had shared it with all of our stakeholders,” Cummings said.

The now-tabled plan comes from Davis. The whole proposal would be federally funded.

On Tuesday night, there was more to discuss at the school board meeting, like more secure hiring practices.

"The one thing I'm the most happy with is the new safe hire piece that will allow the instant identification of folks when they come into buildings,” Cummings said. “It will allow making volunteering easier, and it will also speed up our background check process for new staff people.”

The board also asked how prepared the schools are for an active shooter situation.

"Is anybody prepared for such an event? As you read and hear about these events across the country, I don't think anybody can actually be totally prepared for this,” Patrol Division Chief Eric Crittendon said. “Basically, what we try to do is to be prepared enough to reduce any death or injuries to that nature, try to keep that to a minimum.”

The school corporation says taking security seriously is in line with its long-term goals.

"In order to be literate, in order to have high achievement, you've got to be safe, and we want to ensure the safety of our students in all of our buildings,” Cummings said.