Homeland Security Representative to provide risk assessment for Atlantic Schools


December 14th, 2011 by Ric Hanson

Atlantic School District Superintendent Mike Amstein said Tuesday, Atlantic Police Chief Steve Green has arranged for an official with the U-S Department of Homeland Security to tour the district’s schools and conduct a risk assessment for the various buildings. He says they are fortunate to have the representative come to the district, as it will give school officials a better idea of what’s working and what needs to be improved, with regard to security. The official will tour the district’s main buildings, along with those that are off-campus, like the Educational Opportunity Center (EOC), and Atlantic Head Start. It’s not clear when the assessments will take place.

On the same topic of security, the Atlantic School Board Tuesday, approved the first reading of a policy pertaining to the use of video cameras on school premises. Amstein said the idea for the policy came about after he spoke with the Board’s attorney, and based upon an article he read in a recent School Administrators of Iowa (SAI) newsletter. The school board currently has in-place a policy for video-taping on board the district’s buses, but there was no policy in-place for video surveillance in the schools, even though the cameras have been in use for some time.

Amstein says the article provided some specific guidelines the district can use when it comes to the handling of video evidence if an incident occurs in one of the school buildings or on school property.
He provided an example of how effective video surveillance can be to a district legally, by referring to an “incident” earlier this year, between a student and a faculty member. A surveillance camera caught the incident and recorded it. The video was requested by the police department as evidence in the case.