KHS makes changes in safety procedures

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KHS makes changes in safety procedures

Reese Anderson, news writer

Improvements to safety and security of students

Additions to the high school include more video surveillance cameras throughout the school, restricted access to the Essex and Dougherty Ferry parking lots during school hours and a drug dog and officer. Rising concerns regarding school security around the country have prompted the district to take action involving their student safety.

“We are going to review these procedures throughout the year and [students] will see adjustments made throughout the year and in the future as well,” Dr. Michael Havener, principal, said.

All visitors are now required to park in the Chopin lot to the most direct route to the main office, keeping strangers from travelling through the building. This change is meant to improve the school’s accountability for all students and anyone else on campus.

Levaughn Smart, newly hired coordinator of student safety and security for the district, has also been making changes to signs around the school. Certain entrance doors will be locked during school hours, creating more organized passing periods. This may mean less time to meander the halls in between classes, but it is meant to keep students safe.

“It’s still going to be an open campus, so to speak. However, if you go out a door, it doesn’t mean you can come in that door. We’re just trying to keep the traffic flow in a pattern we can adjust,” Smart said.

Richard Berry, father of three sons whom have all made their way through the KSD, has witnessed the change of security over the years.

“Knowing that there will be restricted access to certain entrances and security cameras does give me some comfort,” Berry said. “I don’t worry about my son’s physical safety when he’s at the high school.”

Smart believes the safety and security of students leads to a more productive learning environment, which is what Kirkwood is all about. He said these additions will take some getting used to, but the ultimate goal is to ensure that all students are out of harm’s way.


Behind the badge: catching up with Levaughn Smart

From operating on the streets of St. Louis City as a policeman, to the undercover narcotics and vice/violent crime department, to being a member of the SWAT team and to helping hunt down terrorists in Iraq and Afghanistan, Levaughn Smart has spent 17 years on the force. Now he finds himself behind a desk at KHS, developing ways to protect students as the new coordinator of safety and security for the KSD.

After a short time working for the Maryland Heights Police Department and two years working with the U.S. Army, Smart and his family decided it was time to settle down.

“I like being a mentor to kids, so it was a natural fit for me,” Smart said.

Though he’s traveled the world, Smart’s roots remain in St. Louis. He attended Hazelwood East High School and he still loves his mom’s spaghetti and meatballs.
When he takes the badge off he enjoys soccer, Jiu Jitsu and playing the guitar. He has been playing guitar for 25 years and was in a rock band for much of his youth. To this day, Smart likes to rock out to Van Halen now and then.

Smart loves to spend time with his two kids. Whether he’s playing Xbox with his son or doing cartwheels with his daughter, being a dad is his favorite pastime. His children’s book of choice is Goodnight Moon.

Having two kids, the most important thing to know about Smart is that he’s a very easygoing and fair person.

“There’s no prejudging of anybody with me,” Smart said, “Honesty is the best policy to me, and I’m going to treat everybody like they’re human, like they’re adults.”

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