Thunder Bay

Thunder Bay schools consider increasing security

Thunder Bay school boards are debating whether to implement a "locked door policy" in their elementary schools.

Provincial funding will enable schools to implement camera system

Thunder Bay school boards are considering new security measures in their elementary schools.

Letter to parents:

C.D Howe Public School continues to remain under a Hold and Secure today.

The Hold and Secure was initiated on Monday, Feb. 4 and will be re-evaluated on Wednesday, Feb. 6.

As stated in my letter to you yesterday, the Hold and Secure was initiated as a precaution as the result of an ongoing police investigation of a family matter.

A Hold and Secure response is initiated when a threat is proximate to, but not inside the building.  Students remain in the building during a Hold and Secure.

We continue to have discussions with Thunder Bay Police and the Ontario Provincial Police with regard to the matter.

Ensuring student safety is Lakehead Public Schools’ highest priority.

If you should have any questions or concerns, please do not hesitate to contact me at the school.

Sent by the Lakehead District Public School Board to parents of C.D. Howe and Kakabeka Falls elementary schools on Tuesday.

After December's Sandy Hook school shooting in the U.S., Premier Dalton McGuinty said he wanted Ontario schools to lock all outside doors while students are in class; however, local boards are still deciding whether that's necessary.

The Lakehead District School Board said the board is looking at which schools should apply for provincial funding to pay for a front-door security system.

Charlie Bishop, education officer with the Lakehead District School Board, said the schools would be outfitted "with a camera … to see who the person was and then have a buzzer system to allow that person into the school." 

Bishop said that system might be a good idea for schools where the office isn't located near the front door.

Weigh the pros and cons

The head of Thunder Bay Catholic Schools, Joan Powell, said staff and trustees need to weigh the pros and cons of locking up.

Joan Powell, director of education, Thunder Bay Catholic Schools. (Supplied)

"You don't want to ... be fear-mongering or making students or parents feel that schools are unsafe places (and) they have to be locked," she said.

Powell said her board will likely look at each school individually to decide if a locked-door policy is necessary.

"We have four schools where there isn't a clear line of sight from the office, where the secretary may sit, to the front door ... So those schools in particular we're looking at options for making the entranceway more visible to the office."

In December 2012, McGuinty committed $10 million for elementary schools to implement a "locked-door policy" while students are in class.

Both Bishop and Powell say that, currently, all doors in elementary schools are locked while children are in class — with the exception of the front door.