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CPS superintendent talks safety, says district is working on improvements | #schoolsaftey


Columbia Public Schools Superintendent Brian Yearwood told ABC 17 News that with the new school year quickly approaching, safety remains a top priority.

He said the district has a safety and security team in place, whose main objective is to keep students in schools safe. One of their main focus is working with administrators, teachers and building relationships with students.

“Not only are they there for safety, but they’re also there to build relationships with scholars,” Yearwood said. “And I think that’s important especially as we develop a stronger safety net for Columbia public schools.”  

All 41 buildings in the district currently have systems where people have to be buzzed in before being allowed into the building, according to CPS spokesperson Michelle Baumstark.

However, secure vestibules are the future of schools in the district.

This technology aides in keeping students safe by forcing people to buzz into the building, and then wait in a “secure” area until you are buzzed into the main building. Yearwood says this allows schools to keep an eye on anyone entering the building at all times, which in turn, keeps students safe.

Baumstark also noted that some current schools had these added into them this summer and only a handful more still need to have them installed. Yearwood said he expects all schools in the district to have them by the end of the next school year.

“We are just about finished with that initiative. (I) think that by the end of this school year we should see that complete,” Yearwood said.

Baumstark also says all new schools that are being built have been designed with the vestibules in place.

In April, the district held a demonstration for a weapons detection system after students called for increased security. Hickman High School students walked out of class in April in protest of gun violence in schools after a shooting in Nashville, Tennessee. Multiple noncredible threats were made towards CPS schools this past school year, including one at Hickman in November and one at Rock Bridge High School in March.

Yearwood said CPS is still considering adding a weapons detection system to schools, but it wants to ensure that whichever system they choose is effective.

“We are, you know, calling other school districts to see what they have and their success stories, as well as perhaps areas where they did not go so well,” Yearwood said. “And I think we are on the trajectory to get such a system.”

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