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posted: 2/11/2013 5:06 PM

Focus on school safety at Gurnee districts 56 and 50

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  • John Hutton

    John Hutton

  • Tom Agos

    Tom Agos

  • Joy Swoboda

    Joy Swoboda


Safety and security are at the forefront at two Gurnee school districts this week.

Nationally known school security expert Kenneth Trump was scheduled to examine buildings at Woodland Elementary District 50 on Monday and Tuesday. Trump will do a security audit at Gurnee Elementary District 56 on Wednesday and Thursday.

District 56 Superintendent John Hutton said his ties to Trump date to when he was an administrator in Valparaiso, Ind., in 2004. He said Trump was hired to perform a safety and security assessment after a Valparaiso High School student attacked his classmates with a machete, injuring seven.

"It was a situation you remember your whole life," Hutton said Monday.

Hutton said his experience in Valparaiso led him to hire Trump after starting as District 56's superintendent in 2007. He said Trump will visit District 56 to review security at two schools and a new administration building.

At Woodland, Trump is expected to visit with district administrators and crisis teams as part of his analysis of safety and security procedures there. Gurnee police crime prevention technician Tom Agos said he and Chief Kevin Woodside discussed school security with Trump on Monday.

Trump, who has performed school security assessments across the United States and Canada, is expected to issue reports to districts 56 and 50 after his review. Agos said it's good for a fresh set of eyes to analyze security at Gurnee's elementary school districts.

"If he sees something in our plans and our protocols that need improving, then we'll improve on it," Agos said.

District 50 Superintendent Joy Swoboda said student and staff safety "has been at the forefront of our thoughts" since the killings at Sandy Hook Elementary School in December.

Hutton said Trump's $32,000 bill will be split by both districts. He said it's another example of Gurnee school districts collaborating to keep down expenses.

Meanwhile, Gurnee police are teaming with District 50 on Friday to produce a professional video to help enhance school safety. Police officers, Lake County sheriff's deputies and volunteers for tasks such as cinematography, lighting and technical support from Chicago's Columbia College will shoot the video at Woodland Middle School.

Agos said the effort has expanded from what was supposed to be a little production he and another police employee would have done with an iPad. He said the script has been tweaked so the video isn't specific to Gurnee, because it'll be offered for free to schools across the country.

"This is too good to keep to ourselves," he said.

Agos said the video will benefit new teachers and other employees who are hired in the middle of an academic year and missed a safety training session all employees receive before school starts. He said the video will fill a gap until the new hires participate in the training before they start a full year on the job at a school.

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