Lincoln Heights Elementary to lift lockdown, add more security

Lincoln Heights Elementary to lift lockdown, add more security
FOX19/Dave Smith
FOX19/Dave Smith

LINCOLN HEIGHTS, OH (FOX19) - Students all over the Tri-State are heading back to school this month.

Next week, students at Lincoln Heights Elementary School will do the same, but with some major safety changes in the hallways.
Near the end of last year, the school was put on lockdown after district officials were alarmed by what they called "a significant amount of random violence" in the neighborhood.

[RELATED: Lincoln Heights Elementary School placed on lockdown for remainder of school year]
That eliminated outdoor recess, and extracurricular activities.  It also limited staff travel, and increased police presence.  When the students hit the halls next week, things will be a little different.
"We won't be starting with a lockdown," said Associate Superintendent Edward Theroux.
It's because they're making changes.
"There will be a full-time SRO, school resource officer, down at Lincoln Heights Elementary.  There will also be a full-time building principal," said Theroux.
District leaders have said it was due to more than 20 incidents on, and around, school property.  Of them, a stray bullet hit an empty bus, nearby shootings and a classroom window shot out.

[RELATED: School officials to keep Lincoln Heights Elementary on lockdown]
"Certainly there are things that we cannot control, but we figured that this was the best solution for what we can control," said board president Lillian Hawkins.

Lorine Shipmon lives near the school, and has a six-year old great granddaughter going there. 

"It was scary for the kids because they were scared to death being locked down like that," said Shipmon.
She's glad the school will stay open, and with its added safety, she's hoping it will drive away the bad guys.
"If you have a policeman up there, that would be cool because people wouldn't go by there.  They'd go the other way around.  They wouldn't go anywhere near the school," said Shipmon.
The agreement for the school resource officer is for three years.  It'll be the first officer in the school, and the district will split the cost with the Lincoln Heights Police Department.  That person will also monitor all police activity outside the building's walls, and can notify school officials right away, if need be.
"The police officer, I believe, is a good thing.  But, it should be a little bit more," said Juanita Smith, who has a niece attending the school."
The school resource officer is a good start, but she hopes there is more done.
"A lot more could be done as far as the community, and as far as people actually not doing as much stuff as they're doing with all the crime that's going on.  There should be a lot more going on," Smith told FOX19.
In May, school Superintendent Gary Pack said 40% of students who can go to Lincoln Heights choose to go elsewhere in the district. On Monday, the Associate Superintendent Edward Theroux told FOX19 the district has received more of those requests.  Board president Lillian Hawkins says safety is not the only reason for those requests, as there are other reasons that do arise.
Theroux says the middle school and high school already have school resource officers.

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