By Kris Leonhardt
MARSHFIELD — The Marshfield School District continuously works to address safety and security on school grounds, needs that School Superintendent Dee Wells said are not only vital to students but to the community as a whole.
“Last spring the district looked at moving forward with reviewing and renewing its practices around school safety and security,” explained Wells. “Obviously, school security and safety is very important to everyone in our community, and we take very seriously the safety of our students and our staff and how that impacts the broader community within the Marshfield School District.
“We are looking at our buildings in particular. They are facilities. They are structures, and there are unique needs and unique things we can do within each building based on the student population to enhance the physical security of the buildings, so we’ve been looking at that.
“Also, we look at staff training. What staff training have we done recently? What staff training should we be doing? How do we make sure that the staff training is ongoing, that it is sustained? In this particular type of a job market, people come and go more frequently than they used to, so how are we sustaining that staff training?
“The other portion of that is really about our own students. If we start to look at our students, … and we start to look at their individual needs, … we can look at the data of our students, and we can say that, ‘We would be better able to provide a safer environment for all students if we enhance the knowledge of this or perhaps the practice of that.’”
When it comes to building safety, school administrators often hear from the public on how it is more difficult to access the district buildings than in years past. Wells said that stricter access to the buildings is a necessity and will be implemented permanently.
“Doors used to be open,” Wells said. “There used to be a greater ability to access the buildings. Those days have long since gone. We looked at each building, worked with the principals to really understand their needs and understand the needs within the buildings. We took a look at each one of the buildings, and what we are trying to do is we are trying to continually upgrade the safety and security of those buildings.
“This isn’t new for this district. This district created an action plan a few years ago, and now that the action plan, the requirements, the things that we put down on paper that we wanted to do have been completed, it’s time to review that action plan — obviously things change — and do that again.”
Wells said that the district staff will continue studying each school building and sitting down the principals to see what might be enhanced as well as using research and experience to determine other safety issues.
Click here to view the video interview with Wells regarding safety.