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Catholic Schools Lock Doors 24/7

December 17, 2012, 6:00 PM by Peggy Moyer

Catholic Schools Lock Doors 24/7

Some area schools lock their doors at all times. Some do not.

The principal at O'Gorman Junior High School says his school doors are locked 24/7 to help ensure student safety.

You have to push the button and wait to be buzzed in in order to enter O'Gorman Junior High School. In fact, the entire Catholic School System in Sioux Falls operates with locked doors on a 24/7 basis. O'Gorman Junior High School Principal Wade Charron says parents and visitors have never once complained about the wait.

"More than anything, I think it reassures them that we're serious about safety and we're just doing what's best to protect their children," Charron said.

Should security ever become breeched, staff and students are well rehearsed. Just two weeks ago, the school practiced its intruder drill. O'Gorman Junior High social studies teacher Derek Robey's study hall students re-enacted it for us.

Robey's students quietly head for a section of the classroom that isn't visible from the windows around the door.  Robey hits the lights and locks the door. The hope is a would-be intruder might think the room is empty. Teachers also use a series of color-coded cards to communicate with first responders.

"I feel very confident that as a school system and as an administration, they're certainly preparing us and we're preparing the students for any type of measure that would come up," Robey said.

It was almost two months ago when police put the O'Gorman campus on alert during the fatal shooting at Cost Cutters on 41st Street.

Charron says teachers were notified of the incident, but because the school is already locked at all times, student learning wasn't interrupted at anytime.

The Sioux Falls public school district’s door security policy is outlined on the district’s website.

Basically, “Door A,” or the main entrance at the district’s building is the only door that is not locked while students are in class.  That changes if a school would need to go into a lock-down mode.

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