Brainerd High School will be considered a closed campus next school year when students will not be able to leave the school for lunch.
Principal Steve Razidlo said Thursday officials will be locking the doors from the inside this fall so the high school building will be more secure for students and staff members.
Razidlo said administration and staff have been discussing the idea to control accesses at the school for awhile. They talked to 20 schools similar in size about how they control access and found out that Brainerd is a minority and keeps its building too open.
The main reason behind the controlled accesses, Razidlo said, is safety. Safety in schools has been a concern in the nation with the numerous school shootings.
There will only be one main entrance that remains open. The other 30-plus doors will be locked. When school begins in the fall the open main entrance may be a set of doors to the north and south of the high school. The main entrance on Fifth Street South will be under construction as part of the remodeling project. Once the construction is complete on the front entrance, it will remain open.
The doors that remain open will be monitored by staff.
Razidlo said students will be able to leave the school with no problem, but will not be able to just walk right back in. They will need to enter the school at the main open doors.
Students who are post-secondary students or have another reason to leave the school, such as having a doctor's appointment, will get special permission to leave and then come back with no problem. Students who also have an open hour during the day will be allowed to leave.
Razidlo said administrators are working with the head cook and coordinator on how to deal with having 200 to 300 more students during the lunch hour. He said they are discussing what foods they offer to students and how they will pay for it.
Brainerd Superintendent Jerry Walseth said having a closed campus is an administrative decision and does not have to be approved by the Brainerd School Board. Walseth said there will be an informational session with school board members about the decision to close the high school campus.
Middle level schools as well as the elementary schools will continue to have closed campuses.
Walseth noted that currently the only students who can leave the high school during lunch are the juniors and seniors.
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