The Astoria School District will host a meeting for all school district staff and interested parents at 2:30 p.m. Thursday in the auditorium at Astoria High School. Lt. Col. James Mitchell, who is the Commander of the 116th Air Control Squadron in the Oregon Air National Guard, will present safety information.

Mitchell has a vast amount of safety experience and students who attend schools within the district.

“As the community is aware, there has been a heightened level of awareness around school safety due to some very unfortunate incidents throughout the country in the past year or so,” said Astoria Superintendent Craig Hoppes. “Astoria School District takes safety very seriously and we are in the process of implementing safety measures that will help students and staff.”

Last spring the Astoria School District brought in four trained law enforcement individuals who went through each of the district's schools and provided insight and feedback as to what it can do to help make the buildings safer.

When staff and students returned to school for the 2013-14 academic year, every classroom in the district had curtains that can be lowered during a lockdown to cover the windows above doors. In addition, AHS and Astoria Middle School classroom doors now lock from the inside, so staff does not have to open a door during a lockdown to secure their classroom.

At Lewis and Clark Elementary School, staff are using magnets in their doors that can be easily lifted up to allow classroom doors to lock. Hoppes said the district will install new locks at John Jacob Astor Elementary School over the winter break.

The cost to complete the work at AHS was donated by Dena Marsch and Coastal Lock and Key. Coastal Lock and Key also donated their time in installing the locks at AMS.

“The work that has been done within the schools is a good first step in helping with safety measure,” said Hoppes. “As a District with the welfare and safety of students and staff in mind we understand that more needs to be accomplished.”

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