TCU evaluates safety measures

By: 
Wade Young

Representatives from Minnesota School Safety Center take Tri-City United officials, local law enforcement, first responders and county emergency personnel on a tour of the TCU Montgomery campus to look at strengths and weaknesses of the building. (Wade Young Photo)

Providing safer schools was the main goal of the official Tri-City United facility safety self-assessment held on Friday, July 27.

 

The self evaluation involved administration from TCU, law enforcement from Montgomery, Lonsdale, Le Center, and Le Sueur County Sheriff’s Department, Le Sueur County Emergency Management Department and the TCU Facilities Coordinator.  

 

The group met with Connie Forster and Jenny Larrive from the Minnesota School Safety Center (MnSSC) who provided ideas and best practices for facilities, training, and communication procedures. They said tours like the one at TCU can sometimes point out things a school official wouldn’t normally notice.

 

“You live in this space everyday and might not see things that somebody with a different set of eyes would see,” said Forster.

Superintendent Teri Preisler said the tours of TCU Elementary/Middle School and TCU High School aimed to show each campus’ strengths and weaknesses, and where the district needs to tighten up safety. 

 

The tour was a follow-up on earlier training Preisler had with McSSC and other school districts that also involved county emergency management and fire departments. She said one thing that struck her from past training was the necessity of good communication with law enforcement and district personnel. 

 

“Whenever we would talk to dispatch, they know what we’re talking about. That is a critical aspect,” she said. “The second piece is general internal communication with partner entities and what that format is and how to make sure we are up-to-date.”

 

Forster agreed, saying, “You can have the fanciest locks, the fanciest entrances and all the whistles, but if you can’t communicate with each other, there’s the flip.”

 

Larrive said many schools have begun using certain apps to connect school staff’s mobile devices and classroom computers to police and emergency management systems so everyone is on the same page in real time. She said it is particularly useful in districts, like TCU, where there are multiple buildings and staff who travel between them.  

 

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