School officials: People visiting campuses need to be patient, bear with security measures

In Stockton Unified Superintendent Steve Lowder’s letter to parents today, he stressed the importance of school visitors being patient if they are delayed by security measures when visiting a campus.

When you are in a rush and frustrated by the school’s check-in and check-out processes remember that it is one of many systems that are in place for you and your child’s safety.

It brought to mind a security breach last year at Colonial Heights Elementary in Lincoln Unified.

A few days after that incident, Lincoln Unified held one of its regular board meetings. In fact, the meeting was one year ago tonight — Dec. 14, 2011.

Here’s what I blogged that night:

(Lincoln Superintendent Tom) Uslan said he found no fault with anyone at Colonial Heights. Offices are busy places and office staffing is not as plentiful as it used to be, he said. “If someone does want to gain access, they ultimately will be able to do so. We run a school system, not a prison system,” Uslan said. “Nevertheless, it’s a discussion we ought to have.”

Colonial Heights Principal Maureen Oechel said the “volunteer” wrote that she wanted to visit the library. (Trustee) George Conklin suggested photocopying visitors’ IDs. (Trustee) Van Ha To-Cowell asked about holding a visitor’s ID. Uslan said he was uncertain of the legality. (Trustee Don) Ruhstaller was reluctant about copying IDs. (Trustee Ted) Bestolarides said the visitor should have been required to provide the name of a Colonial Heights contact. Oechel said the woman said she was waiting for her aunt and that at that point they would volunteer. “It was almost like she had it all figured out,” Oechel said. “She was very clever.” Oechel said since the intrusion, they’ve been checking visitors, and some of the visitors have been “upset” about being asked to explain why they are visiting the school.

Hopefully in the aftermath of Connecticut, visitors to schools will learn to be more patient than some of those Colonial Heights visitors were last year.

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