Parents, staff welcome extra security Friday at Barrington schools
Hough School principal Lori Wilcox holds the door open as she welcomes parents before additional staff checked IDs Friday before entering the Barrington elementary school. | Dan Luedert~Sun-Times Media
Updated: January 28, 2013 2:52PM
BARRINGTON — With many parents and visitors filing into District 220 schools for holiday parties Friday, school leaders enhanced security procedures in each building.
At Hough Street Elementary, visitors passed through a checkpoint where they were required to show picture identification to obtain a visitor’s badge.
Hough principal Dr. Lori Wilcox reported that the school placed extra staff members at the door. Guests had to sign in, state which classroom they were visiting.
“It’s going to take a few extra minutes, but we want to check any adult who walks through the door,” said Wilcox. “We’re being as vigilant as possible. Student safety is our utmost concern.”
Wilcox also said anyone not immediately recognized by administrators, with the help on surveillance cameras, were greeted by staff members at the entrance.
“Parents are wanting us to be vigilant about safety and we feel the same,” she said.
Jenny Welsh, a parent of four District 220 students, said last week’s tragedy in Connecticut certainly heightened the local safety concerns.
“They’re definitely stepping up security here,” said Welsh.
Another precaution, Welsh noted, is making sure visitors do not hold open the door for other guests who may be walking behind them.
“It’s definitely a concern, so we’re glad they’re doing that,” Welsh said.
Jennifer Wondrasek, president of the Hough PTO, echoed similar concerns.
“It’s not rude, it’s just a safety protocol,” said Wondrasek, pointing out that since Hough is located close to downtown Barrington, the school gets more foot traffic than most District 220 buildings.
“Hough is one of the older buildings, so we want to make sure,” Wondrasek said.
Wilcox said parents have been very cooperative and appreciative of the added security.
“I think they appreciate our extra precautions,” she said. “Everybody’s been very generous. They know our rationale.”
Hough parent Chuck Dale, who stopped by the school Friday for his daughter’s class Christmas party, said he had no problem with the extra security.
“I think it’s a great addition,” he said. “In the past, it was pretty easy to get in, so this is a step in the right direction.”
Jeff Arnett, chief communications officer for District 220, said all schools in the district, including the high school and middle schools, have increased security all week.