Andover district leaders believe their schools are very secure, but some moms and dads disagree.
Troy Tabor and a team of parents want to see changes made at the schools, particularly to the front doors that stay unlocked during the day. They feel it is too easy for an intruder to get inside. Tabor says, "We don't have anyway of buzzing in people or making sure the people that are coming into the school need to be there."
USD 385 Spokeswoman Keturah Austin says, "Currently all of our entrances are locked except the front ones during the day. But that's something we have discussed and we'll continue to look at those options."
It's the main reason why the Andover Parental Action Committee for Safer Schools started a petition. They hope to get 500 signatures so district leaders will listen to their ideas. Tabor says, "There is a large voice of parents who are concerned and we want to make sure that it's a top priority in our school system to make sure security is well taken care of."
Austin says, "We haven't heard from this parent group, but we are so fortunate in Andover to have parents who are this involved and who care this much about our school district."
Tabor says parents don't want their kids to feel like they're in prison. He says, "I don't want them to have to walk in and be frisked." But he thinks safer precautions need to be taken.
USD 385 polled parents in the fall about school security and Assistant Superintendent of Human Resources Brett White says 98% said their child feels safe. White says, "I think that's powerful data, but we're always striving to make improvements and to make sure that our students are as safe as they can possibly be."
Tabor says the group of parents appreciates what the district has done so far, and they want school leaders to know they have parents behind them. Tabor says, "We want to do whatever we can, whether it's going around and letting people know that we want to drum up some money to pay for additional SRO's or if we want to contact legislators to try to advocate for it in our system."
White says the district is currently working with a security expert for a review of its safety measures. He says, "School safety is a journey. It's something that's never complete and it's something we're always reviewing and trying to improve upon."
The group of parents also wants to see more School Resource Officers in the buildings. The district has two for ten schools. A Facebook page called "Andover Parental Action Committee for Safe Schools" outlines the group's plan. They intend to present the petition to school board members at the next meeting on February 11th.