By Karen Daniels
Stafford MSD’s January school board meeting began with a touching congratulations to students on the Special Olympics bowling team; winners of the FFA leadership and County Fair were announced; and the varsity football team was recognized for their stellar performance this season. The board room was filled with appreciative parents grateful for the organizations and clubs at Stafford. After learning the bond update was still on time, on schedule, and on budget, Superintendent Dr. Lance Hindt also discussed safety procedures, reassuring everyone once again that SMSD is a safe place to be.
Although Dr. Hindt has already sent information to the parents regarding the erroneous AG report, and had an opportunity to address Stafford City Council, this was his first chance to speak of the event in Connecticut during the SMSD regular school board meeting. Stafford’s goal is to be prepared as possible for disasters affecting the schools, students, and employees. The 61page emergency procedures handbook is available online at the District’s website (www.stafford.msd.esc4.net/) with instructions on how to handle disasters which may include: severe weather, evacuations, violent disruptions and threats, fire and medical emergencies, school bus issues, and student emergencies. Be sure to register to receive phone messages from the school that will inform you of any situation occurring at your student’s campus.
The safety plan is updated annually, working in partnership with three campus police officers (1 per 1,100 students), Stafford’s Emergency Management coordinator Jennifer Taylor, and Stafford’s Police Department. By the time construction is complete at SMSD later this year there will be 140 surveillance cameras, inside and out. School buses also are also equipped with cameras. A new keyless card entry began this January that tracks the assigned card being used and the section being accessed. Right of entry is only available to the campus the teacher or staff member works at – accessibility is not campus wide – except for a few top administrators. Visitors wishing to enter must pass two separate clearances. Dr. Hindt said that Stafford “goes above and beyond the requirements of SB11.”
Trustee Rodney Butler reported that he had recently visited the elementary school and was happy to report that he was stopped before entering the building to verify who he was. Trustee Virginia Rosas said, “With any plan there is always room for improvement” and would like to see “police presence at the board meetings.”