Moose Lake Star Gazette - Serving Carlton and Pine Counties Since 1895

By Natascha Watercott
Moose Lake Star-Gazette 

Amping up entrance security in Willow River


At the February 20 Willow River school board meeting, the board updated Policy 903, which covers visitors to school district buildings and sites. One of the main changes dealt with keeping better track of visitors for safety reasons.

According to the policy, all visitors are required to enter their entrance time in the visitor’s register and may be subject to verification of identity and issuance of a visitor’s or identification badge. Visitors cannot enter the building without first receiving permission from the office of the administrator in charge of the school building or the superintendent.

Peel explained they are now requiring that all visitors come back to the main entrance and sign out before they leave. Visitors often leave through another door instead of the main entrance, which makes it difficult for staff to keep track of where they are.

Board member Bruce Bohaty gave a brief summary of the February Facilities/Activity meeting. The committee discussed the installation of water refilling stations for water bottles within the school and considered several locations.

The committee will check with the school parent teacher organization to see if they could purchase one for the district. If they agree, the school will install the station in the school cafeteria where there are already drinking fountains. If all goes well, they will discuss options to purchase one or two more systems.

Bohaty also reported the district is working on coming up with a better system for managing keys throughout the building. “The elementary and high school administrative assistants have a good handle on staff keys, but questions remain regarding custodial and transportation keys. If you think about the number of doors, cabinets, desks, trophy cases, electrical panels, and other items with locks, that equates to a large number of keys,” explained the Facilities/Activity committee report.

Board member ​Aziz Al-Arfaj, also on the Facilities/Activity Committee, briefly discussed the school’s softball field. He noted that in years past, the softball field was leased from Wildstar Properties Inc. to the city. Last year, however, the city was no longer interested in continuing the lease, and the school took over.

Since the district is the sole lessee, the field becomes an extension of school property and its use must follow school policy which dictates that no alcohol or tobacco products may be used on the property. The district intends to follow the school policy (zero tolerance for alcohol or tobacco use) for the softball complex.

Members of the Facilities/Activity Committee had questioned how they could enforce this during the summer months if adult organizations request to use the field. It was decided that Bohaty would inform the adult organizations that have used the field in the past of the policy and recommend they find a new location.

The board observed School Board recognition week; Superintendent/Elementary Principal Bill Peel personally thanked the school board members and presented them with certificates of appreciation from the Minnesota School Board Association (MSBA) for their dedicated leadership and continuing service to the students of the community. Board member Susan Grill was also given a certificate for completing phase 1, 2 and 3 of the workshop series for the MSBA.


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