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School Climate & Safety

Cleveland Schools Get Security Audit Following Shooting

By Lesli A. Maxwell — December 04, 2007 1 min read

After a 14-year-old student shot and injured two classmates and two teachers before killing himself at a Cleveland high school in October, educators have sought to improve security across the 50,000-student district.

A team of security chiefs from other urban school districts, including Los Angeles and Chicago, is reviewing safety in Cleveland’s more than 100 public school buildings.

Superintendent Eugene T. W. Sanders requested the audit from the Council of the Great City Schools, an organization whose members are 66 of the nation’s largest school districts.

The review team spent several days in the district last month and will return for a second visit soon, said Michael D. Casserly, the executive director of the Washington-based group.

“The first phase was to look at broader systems and operational issues,” Mr. Casserly said. “The second phase will involve looking at individual schools.”

Since the Oct. 10 shooting at SuccessTech Academy, the Cleveland district has announced several measures to beef up security, including the installation of metal detectors and wands at every campus in the district and hiring more security guards to work in schools.

The security audit will include a final report and recommendations from the review team, the results of which Mr. Sanders has said he will release publicly.

Though it is more common for member districts to request audits of business practices, food services, transportation, and instruction, the council has done security reviews in districts such as Albuquerque, N.M., and Milwaukee, Mr. Casserly said.

He said concerns that the review would not be critical enough because Cleveland is a member of the council and because Mr. Sanders serves on its executive committee were unfounded.

“These reports that the council does are always straightforward, because the whole point is to help districts do things better,” Mr. Casserly said. “We don’t soft-pedal the findings.”

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A version of this article appeared in the December 05, 2007 edition of Education Week

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