As of September, the following procedures went into effect throughout the district:
- Drop offs will not be permitted at any of the schools. If students forget their lunch IOUs will be issued; no child will go hungry.
- Appointments must be made to see teachers, administrators and other staff.
- Notes for picking up children must be submitted the day before to the attendance secretary at the middle or high school and to the classroom teacher at the elementary level. If you forget to send a note, please call the main office before you come to retrieve your child.
The policies were outlined in a letter sent to parents July 19 and are part of an ongoing effort to increase security, which includes building entry vestibules at schools that do not already have them.
Parker said while he realizes some have interpreted the new procedures as "interfering with their abilities," the district's goal is to "engage parents and have them be part of the process."
Many parents are appreciative of the new rules, said Parker, who added that as police point out, every time a school door is opened to someone unannounced or unexpected, it increases the risk to students and staff.
On Tuesday, in nearby Springfield, a 25-year-old Vauxhall man entered Jonathan Dayton High School posing as a ninth grader and told school officials he wished to enroll. The man, who was not carrying any weapons, was arrested and charged with criminal trespassing into a school, a fourth-degree felony, as well as disorderly conduct and harassment.
In his July letter, Parker stated that the district had confirmed as many as 400 people visit Summit High School each day. As many as 100 had been dropping in to the middle school daily, he added. As of Friday morning, the superintendent said he did not have new estimates since the policies have been implemented.
"We want to have a close connection to our families," said Parker, who noted that the district hasn't seen "any diminishing parent participation" as a result of the change in procedures. "Overall, I think that it's given everyone a guideline and we're working through it."
Letters from school principals thanking parents for their support will be sent home shortly, he said.
An update on safety and security issues will be included in the upcoming Board of Education meeting, which will be held at 7:30 p.m. Thursday at the Jefferson Primary Center.