District 65 board greenlights new security positions | #education | #technology | #training

District 65 Assistant Superintendent of Operations Terrance Little speaks to board members about school security updates during a July 13 meeting. Credit: Evanston/Skokie School District 65 YouTube

The Evanston/Skokie School District 65 Board of Education unanimously voted Wednesday, July 13, to create several new district-wide jobs designed to improve building safety and security in all the schools.

The vote, taken at a special morning meeting at the Joseph E. Hill Early Childhood Center, calls for hiring to fill new positions including 16 concierges who will staff the main entrance to individual school buildings, check in visitors and monitor any people moving in and out of the school campus.

In addition, those concierges will report to the manager and assistant manager of prevention and special response, two more new positions that the district is already interviewing candidates for at this time, Assistant Superintendent of Operations Terrance Little said Wednesday.

The manager and assistant manager of prevention and special response will have a law enforcement or military background and lead any district responses to crisis situations like an intruder or an active shooter, Little and Superintendent Devon Horton said.

The special response team will also provide “direct daily safety measures for the superintendent and the board of education members,” according to the job listings on the district website.

Right now, individual schools do not have someone on staff whose primary job is to check doors, monitor entrances and conduct walkthroughs inside and outside the building, according to Little. As a result, the district needs to invest more time and resources into proactive safety precautions, he said.

“I can honestly say, we’re not in a prevention situation. ‘Safe’ and ‘prevention’ are two different things,” Little said. “We’re not being preventive because we’re in such a great environment and a great place, but it’s just like Highland Park: Anything can happen.”

The district is also in talks with multiple software companies to roll out new technology that would track the location of students throughout the day and allow teachers, staff and administrators to communicate about emergencies more easily, according to Little’s presentation to board members and a memo posted online with the meeting agenda. Those companies include Navigate360, Smart Tag, Hall Pass and Centegix.

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