A reminder on school safety in Brooklyn Center
By Katy Zillmer
Brooklyn Center School District Supt. Keith Lester recently reminded district students, parents and the community about safety procedures in the winter district newsletter.
“The recent shootings at Sandy Hook Elementary School in Newtown, Conn., left us all wondering and worrying about the safety of our children and our schools,” Lester said. “The thoughts and prayers of all of us at Brooklyn Center Community Schools go out to the families and citizens so horrifically struck by this terrible event,” he said. The district is also focusing on how to assure the community that children in Brooklyn Center are safe and that its staff are prepared to respond in a crisis.
Earle Brown Elementary School Principal Jane Ellis said the district’s leadership team met in the days after the shootings in Newtown.
“As a district we’re evaluating our crisis plan,” Ellis said. “As a school we did as well. It’s reassuring to parents to tell them we have a plan. It’s sad to say this is no longer a rare instance. In keeping kids safe, we know have a litany of safety drills that we must make routine, being fire, tornado and intruder,” she said.
Ellis started as the principal at Earle Brown Elementary in summer 2012 and previously worked in Minneapolis public schools.
“It’s comforting to know we are prepared,” she said. “As a leadership team we immediately got together after the incident to say we want to have one voice, one message. That is really important to us as a district.”
Crisis plans in Brooklyn Center include:
• All doors are locked at school buildings, except the main front door, and will be monitored all day.
• At the high school, all visitors have to enter through the office. Earle Brown Elementary has a greeter for people entering the building.
• Staff and administration are always encouraged to be visible throughout the buildings.
• Key employees are well-versed on the crisis plan and know what to do.
• The district has been holding regular lockdown drills, which are required by law. Kids and teachers know what to do if there is an intruder at a school.
• The district also has a long history of working closely with the Brooklyn Center Police Department. The department staff knows the school buildings well and are always at the ready in case of an emergency.
Information about school safety and talking to children about violence is available at brooklyncenterschools.org. Community members may call the schools for information as well.
Earle Brown Elementary School: 763-561-4480
Brooklyn Center High School: 763-561-2120
Brooklyn Center Academy: 763-450-3383