Vancouver School Board agrees to study locked-door policy
Published Monday, February 4, 2013 11:48PM PST
Last Updated Monday, February 4, 2013 11:49PM PST
The Vancouver School Board has voted down a locked-door policy at public schools aimed at quelling the concerns of parents still reeling from the Sandy Hook Elementary shooting.
But after debating the idea at a Monday board meeting, members agreed to send it to a committee to further study the impact.
The issue was raised by trustee Ken Denike, who said he’s spoken to many parents who are worried about security after the horrifying murder spree in Newtown, Conn. that killed 20 children in December.
“We don’t want to make it too convenient for intruders to be in our schools,” Denike said.
Less than a week after the Sandy Hook shooting, Ontario Premier Dalton McGuinty announced a $10-million plan aimed at having all the province’s schools equipped with front-door locks, security cameras and buzzer systems.
But VSB Chair Patti Bacchus said the city has a good safety record, and a locked-door policy may do more harm than good.
“There is a concern that if you do start locking doors without real evidence that it’s necessary, you can create a heightened atmosphere of almost anxiety,” Bacchus said.
Over the last three years, Vancouver has seen two full lockdowns, or “Code Reds,” at schools and six partial lockdowns, also known as “Code Yellows.”
During Monday night’s debate, trustee Mike Lombardi argued against taking action based on a U.S. tragedy.
“We don’t share the American experience here, we don’t want to replicate it here. We need made-in-Vancouver solutions based on Vancouver situations,” he said.
Lombardi pointed out that a school security audit is currently already underway in cooperation with the Vancouver Police Department.
None of Metro Vancouver’s school boards have a locked door policy, though some schools in Langley and North Vancouver lock their doors because those districts allow individual schools to decide for themselves.
With a report from CTV British Columbia’s Nafeesa Karim