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Huron schools respond to escape

Posted: Thursday, Jan 10th, 2013

HURON — Except for a few adjustments, it was business as usual Tuesday in the schools in the Huron district, according to Superintendent Terry Nebelsick. After being notified of an escape from the Beadle County Correction Center, the school district worked with Officer Cory Borg of the Huron Police Department to decide on what actions to take to keep the students safe. Borg is the school resource officer.

“The most difficult decision concerned the bus pick up points,” said Nebelsick. “We worked with Officer Cory Borg and accepted his recommendations.”

One the safeguards the police department took was to have police officers as visible as possible in as many locations as possible where children were waiting for school buses. There was also heightened security at every school and only persons with the appropriate identification were allowed to enter.

“All the buildings were in lockdown throughout the day,” said Nebelsick. “The elementary children were kept inside for recess. No one was allowed on the playground. And at the high school, the vocational classes were held in the main building so we weren’t sending students outside.”

The high school students were allowed to leave campus at their discretion. “Students at the high school were cleared to leave for lunch, as police indicated that the probability of the escapee having left the city was reasonable. The high school principal, Demi Moon, advised the students to stay at the school or to discuss leaving with their parents, first, before they left,” explained Nebelsick. “If they decided to leave, they were warned that they would have to show their ID to get back in the building.

Although the district received word about the stolen vehicle during the day, no one was taking any chances. The police officers were again highly visible along the bus routes as children were heading home from school. Nebelsick said they didn’t want students walking home from the bus stop alone, especially where no adult could be seen from the stop.

He also said the district will always respect the opinions of parents. “We explain what we are doing to assure the safety of the students, but if a parent decides to keep their child home from school, it would not count as an absence,” he said. However, Nebelsick said he had not heard of any children being kept out of school because of the incident.

Nebelsick said individual schools have had lockdowns before, but this may have been the first district-wide lockdown.

He explained that on occasion the police department will request a lockdown at a specific school as a precaution when there is an incident in the area that they feel may turn violent, such as a domestic dispute.

“The children accept these precautions and take them in stride,” Nebelsick commented. “The lockdown was just a precautionary measure, and all students remained safe and secure. We anticipate that tomorrow will be a normal day of school.”

For the complete article see the 01-09-2013 issue.

Click here to purchase an electronic version of the 01-09-2013 paper.

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