BEA School Board hears safety update
In light of acts or threats of gun violence breaking out in schools across the country, school safety was one of the key topics of conversation during last week’s Blue Earth Area School Board meeting on Monday, March 12.
School resource officer D.J. Bullerman, who has worked with the school for the past four years, discussed the various measures currently being taken to ensure the safety of all BEA students. According to Bullerman, he has been in communication with BEA High School principal Rich Schneider with regards to improving the school’s current camera security systems.
“The camera systems has been updated many times, and they’ve had cameras added,” Bullerman said. “Mr. Schneider and myself have gone through the high school building and looked at different options of upgrading blind spots in our system or locating better places for cameras. It’s always nice to have that.”
Bullerman also noted that he can access the school’s entire camera system on his county issued phone. Additionally, he stated a new feature this year allows the county sheriff’s department to also access the school’s camera system.
“If there ever were an incident or a lock down scenario where law enforcement were to come into the building, the sheriff and all the deputies are able to access the entire system,” he added.
Crisis management preparation was also addressed by Bullerman at the meeting. In particular, Bullerman cited changes made to the high school’s media center as a proactive measure made to ensure the safety of students in the event of a potentially dangerous situation.
“Prior to me working here, if we decided as a staff to shelter and place students, or to evacuate, there were no doors for security facing the inside of the media center,” Bullerman explained. “Thankfully the school went along with my advice and slowly added doors in all of those rooms. It was a small step in the right direction.”
Police dogs, or K-9 units, were also mentioned in Bullerman’s report. The law enforcement official expressed having an officer already situated on school grounds allows for quicker access to K-9 help in case of an emergency.
“We have a K-9 on staff at the Faribault County Sheriff’s Office, and the Winnebago Police Department also has one,” Bullerman said. “So whether we are in the parking lots, or looking for a lost person, or searching for drugs, the communication line between law enforcement and the school is a lot better having somebody in here on a daily basis.”
In addition to detailing the school’s current security measures, Bullerman also briefed the board on his efforts to build comradery with younger students. The officer began a recess activity referred to as “RC Bashing” in which he engages children by playing with two remote control trucks. Bullerman says this activity helps him to develop more trust among students and distracts them from being worried about his presence at the school.
Other items from the meeting included:
The board approved the retirement of four teachers; all of which will go into effect at the conclusion of the current school year. Those teachers are 34-year veteran Kate Warmka, 33-year veteran Todd Schmidtke, 39-year veteran Sandy Hanson and 35-year veteran Al Cue.
Before the motion was passed, board chairman Jesse Haugh spoke highly of the commitment all four retiring teachers displayed during their time in the school district.
“I think it’s special just to recognize just exactly how much time they’ve put into our school district,” Haugh said. “They’ve done a great job for the district, not only in the classroom, but also coaching. A huge thank you to those four people.”