BUTLER COUNTY, Ohio -- Lakota Local Schools now have a lockdown system that can secure a room in eight seconds or less.
Officials installed 1,200 Bearacade Door Control Systems over the summer as a part of new security measures that are being implemented throughout the district.
Superintendent Matthew Miller said the move highlights the district’s priority to keep students and staff safe.
“Our plans are never complete,” Miller said. “We are always working with our law enforcement partners to evaluate all of our safety measures in order to improve.”
Crews installed the door systems in classrooms throughout the district. In the event of a lockdown, a staff member can deploy the system in three to eight seconds, Miller said.
School officials have also upgraded camera systems at the main campuses of Lakota East and West High Schools, and a plan is in motion to update cameras at the other schools.
Chief Operations Officer Chris Passarge said crews will begin updating cameras in the fall, and officials expect that all camera systems will be updated “over the next few years.”
The district made strides to improve the well-being of students last year when officials hired eight more school resource officers last year, bringing the total amount of personnel to 18 with one officer at each campus.
Mental health professionals are available at 15 of Lakota’s 23 schools thanks to a partnership with MindPeace, a non-profit dedicated to providing mental health care to children. Officials hope to have a therapist in every school by May.
Over 200 students met with therapists last year, according to Lauren Brown, Lakota’s manager of Health Care Services.
“... Strong mental health plays a vital role in a student's growth and success,” Brown said. “A student who is struggling with stress, anxiety or other concerns cannot focus on school work.”