Princeton Public Schools district makes changes to security protocols

A day after 17 people were killed in a shooting at a Florida high school and a week after a former student at Princeton High entered the school and wandered around, the head of the Princeton Public Schools announced changes to district safety and security protocols.

Superintendent of Schools Steve Cochrane said police performed a security audit of the schools last month. Last week a student at the high school reported to administrators that a stranger entered the school. The man turned out to be an alumnus of the high school but did not have permission to be in the building.

“As a result of our security audit at the high school, and following the incident there last week in which a former student entered and later left the building, we will be making some important changes in our safety practices and protocols,” Cochrane wrote on Thursday.

All doors at Princeton High School will be locked during arrival times, as well as during the school day, and students will only be able to enter the school through the tower entrance or the entrance by the performing arts center. Security personnel will be in place monitoring both entrances to ensure that no one enters who shouldn’t be in the building. Parents and other visitors will only be allowed to enter through the tower entrance, where they will need to sign in.

Several other security changes have been implemented throughout the district based on the security audits, according to Cochrane. During the school day, the doors to all buildings are locked. At the elementary schools and at John Witherspoon Middle School, students are only able to arrive and leave through their school’s main entrance, which is monitored by staff.

“We have also made additional recommendations for all of our buildings, from enhanced PA systems to additional security cameras to modifications of our internal procedures,” Cochrane wrote. “We appreciate your understanding and support as we implement these new procedures designed to improve the safety for our students and our staff.”

“Yesterday’s tragedy in Florida weighs heavily on our hearts. Our thoughts go out to the students, staff, and families, and to all those who were affected by this latest school shooting,” Cochrane wrote. “We join with communities all over America in grieving the loss of the students in Florida and in renewing a common commitment to make our schools physically and emotionally safe for all children to learn.”