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home : news : north central illinois   May 25, 2016

1/31/2013 9:32:00 PM
Forum discusses school safety in Putnam County

Shannon Crawley-Serpette
Staff Writer

GRANVILLE — Several local officials, including emergency services personnel, spoke at a school safety forum Wednesday at Putnam County High School in Granville.

Hennepin mayor Kevin Coleman recalled the horror he felt as he watched the news reports of the school shooting in Newtown, Conn., in December.

Like many watching that day, Coleman said he wondered why the tragedy had happened.

“As the evening wore on, I started to wonder what if,” he said.

From there, the idea of a school safety forum took root, in the hopes of preventing a tragedy from ever occurring in Hennepin or in any of the schools at Putnam County, Coleman said.

Putnam County superintendent Jay McCracken said the safety of its students is the No. 1 priority in the school district.

While McCracken could not, for security reasons, share the entire school crisis management plan, he did say the district has a plan that was developed years ago. That plan is regularly practiced and examined, he said.

But, he said, no plan is foolproof.

“No plan can totally prevent a random act of senseless violence,” McCracken said.
He said the district would love to hear suggestions from parents about what more could be done to make the schools safer.

Like many districts, each school in Putnam County has locked doors and controlled entry. In addition, three of the schools in the district have key card entry.

The fourth school will have key card entry installed this summer.

Using key cards instead of keys adds another layer of protection.

“They (the key cards) can be deactivated,” McCracken said.

Shannon Crawley-Serpette can be reached at (309) 364-2268 or

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