Security


Contact Us If You See Security Deficiencies

The safety of our students and staff in the Mount Laurel Schools each day is our top priority. If you see a deficiency in your visits to our buildings, please contact us immediately. Doors that are not properly locked, shrubbery that may need to be trimmed, unsafe conditions in school lots or parking areas should all be reported to the school office immediately. In addition, you may e-mail our Assistant Superintendent for Business Robert F. Wachter Jr., who oversees our facilities, or Director of Communication Services Marie Reynolds, who can direct your concern to the proper office for remediation.

Strobe Lights At All Schools Signal Need To Stay Away

Did you know: That one of the newest security measures at all of Mount Laurel's Schools is a strobe-light system? In the event of a lock-down or lock-out at the school, the strobe lights will be activated to alert everyone to stay away. We will be using the strobe lights for drills as well as actual emergencies. So, if the strobe lights are flashing, stay away. We're either drilling security to keep students and staff safe, or there is an emergency within the school perimeter.
 
The lighting system is designed not only to alert parents and members of the community, but also our staff members who travel from one building to another, or may have left the building. Once our buildings are in Lockdown or Lockout mode, no one is permitted to enter or exit the facility. All exterior doors are locked. In the past, a staff member who may have gone out for lunch might return and use their secure badge to re-enter the building, unaware that the building was in Lockdown or Lockout. The strobe lights will alert them as well as other visitors who might be placed in harm's way by approaching the school during an actual emergency.

Understanding the Shelter In Place Drill and Procedures

By law, all Mount Laurel Schools practice a number of drills throughout the year on a regular schedule. You will hear from your children about practicing Lockdown, Lockout and Shelter-In-Place procedures at various times throughout the school year, as well as the standard Fire Drill evacuation.

One of the most commonly implemented procedures is the Shelter-In-Place activation. A Shelter-In-Place may be called for many reasons. One event would be whenever the emergency squad is called to the building. It simply means that staff and students remain in the classrooms despite bells, etc. so that squad members are free to move through the building without hindrance. Please understand that with hundreds of students in a building, it is not unusual to have to summon the emergency squad to one of our schools on any given day. Students come to us with varying health conditions, or may suffer an illness or injury once they arrive at school. Although many students are seen each day in our school nurses' offices, a small percentage of the time, the nurse may feel emergency care is indicated.

When an individual student suffers a personal medical emergency and the squad is called, we will not generally send school-wide notification unless the emergency impacts other students in some way.

Review of Mount Laurel's School Security Procedures

The simple truth is that we cannot begin to educate children who do not feel safe in our buildings each school day. Security continues to be our first priority.

Here is a review our plan basics:

  • All Mount Laurel Schools are secured by entrance monitoring systems throughout the school day. Only those with legitimate business in the school are admitted, and proper identification is required. All visitors are asked to report to the main office upon entry to the school. We have video-monitoring in place in strategic locations in all eight schools. Those wishing to remove a child from school who are not known to office personnel are required to show photo identification.
  • All schools in New Jersey must practice security drills each month in addition to fire drills. We practice one fire drill and one security drill as required by law in all Mount Laurel Schools. The law is very specific in the types of drills we must conduct. Two times each year, we are required to practice our procedures for the following four events: an active shooter, an evacuation other than fire, a bomb threat and a lock-down.
  • Our staff discusses these drills with students in an age-appropriate context. While staff members will be given the drill scenario that would be required in the event of an active shooter in the building, for example, students will only be given direction consistent with a standard lock-down drill, which they have practiced in the past. These important tests of our district's Emergency Procedures, while crucial in terms of preparedness, are conducted in a non-threatening manner and are not intended to heighten alarm on the part of either students or staff.
  • We work diligently with the Mount Laurel Police Department and Emergency Management to plan for all eventualities in terms of emergency, including evacuation plans and lock-down procedures. Our Police Department routinely conducts active-shooter drills in our schools as part of its training, after school hours. Our School Security Officer assists principals in developing scenarios for monthly drills and provides support on security issues.
  • We work closely with the Mount Laurel Police Department, which has established a practice of routine patrols in the areas surrounding our schools. Patrol officers also visit the schools during routine patrol so that all members of the force are familiar with our facilities and our families feel a heightened sense of protection.

Please continue to monitor our progress and remain diligent in your observations while in or around our school buildings. Don't hold doors open for people you don't know. Appreciate the request from office staff for proper identification. Understand when we must limit participation at some school-day events for purposes of security. Use established drop-off and pick-up points each day. Perhaps most importantly, listen to the concerns of your children and pass along troubling comments regarding security to your child's teacher or your principal. We value your partnership in this, our most important endeavor.