After reassessing the corporation's safety needs in light of the December shootings at a Connecticut elementary school, the Greencastle Community School Corporation will add some stiffer security to accessing the school's central office.
While access control systems were added to all five school buildings in 2010, no security measures were added at the central office, which was still housed at the Miller Education Center at the time.
Central office has since moved to its current location on the west side of the Ridpath Primary School building, and access from the office to the school has become a concern for school officials.
Although staff members keep a locked door between the facilities when children are present, officials would like to see an additional measure of security added.
With this in mind, the board approved a $3,400 plan presented by school safety coordinator Shawn Gobert to add an access control system at the central office entrance.
The system will be similar to those employed at the school buildings, featuring a camera, buzzer and intercom.
The corporation has Safe Haven grant money available to pay for the cost.
"Even without the tragedy, I think it's a good idea," board president Mike Dean said. "We have it on all our other buildings, why wouldn't we on central office?"
Other safety concerns brought to light by the tragedy were also addressed shortly before the students returned for the spring semester.
In an effort to educate staff members about the look and sound of firearms, local police officers gave a demonstration by firing blank rounds inside the schools on Friday, Jan. 4.
Excise police officer Jerrod Baugh and Greencastle Police Chief Tom Sutherlin performed the demonstrations, while Greencastle Sgt. Terry Eastham guarded the doors, should any unexpected visitors to the schools be alarmed by the sound.
Gobert said the demonstration was informative both for staff members who have never been around guns and for those unaccustomed to how they sound in enclosed areas.
"It was very powerful, very eye-opening," Gobert said.
Board member Denise Sigworth, who sat in on one of the demonstrations, said she learned how important accurately describing the weapon to dispatchers can be.
Knowing the nature of the gun being used in such a situation goes a long way in exactly how police respond.
In addition to this, staffers were reminded how important it is to describe school locations in layman's terms, not things a police officer would not know such as "inside Mrs. Smith's room."
Gobert emphasized that the knowledge gained by staffers is hopefully never used, but could prove invaluable in an emergency situation.