Wickliffe Schools to add ballistic film at new campus

Jun. 11—After a number of discussions over the last several months with staff and community members, Wickliffe City School District Board of Education recently made the decision to add ballistic film to window surfaces at the new kindergarten through 12th grade campus.

According to Superintendent Joseph Spiccia, the board made the decision in trying to best safeguard students and staff in the building.

"We had talked about ballistic film previously in our security meetings as part of the design of the building, but it became a more serious discussion in the last several months," Spiccia said.

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On the interior of the building, the film will be applied to all classroom windows, door windows and sidelights. On the exterior, all of the entrance glass and the glass on the first floor bridges will have the ballistic film. The film should be in place before the school year begins in the fall, Spiccia said.

"The first thing people have to understand is ballistic film or ballistic glass even is not bulletproof," he said."The experts would tell you it's bullet resistant, so it's not going to stop a bullet, but it is going to make it more difficult for the bullet to pierce the glass and it's going to take more bullets to break the glass."

The film also prevents glass from shattering and extends the time before an intruder could get into a classroom or school building, Spiccia said.

"I think what we did in the design of the building was to create a safety plan that optimizes student and staff safety," he said. "The plan, of course, we don't reveal to people because if we tell you, the bad guys get to learn it as much as the good guys."

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Spiccia believes that everyone in public education tries to do the very best they can for their students and staff, but because one school district can do one thing doesn't mean every district has to do it or can do it.

"We don't want to be the people who other school districts look at and say, 'Look what they're doing. You should be doing the same. They care more than you care,' " Spiccia said. "I don't think that's true. We were just in a position, building a new building, to do some things that maybe other districts can't because of their current facility situation."

The district is always on the lookout for ways to keep students and staff safer and remains careful to exercise safety and security plans in the best interests of student learning, Spiccia said.

"Ballistic film protects classrooms to an extent on the inside, but it certainly doesn't protect students on playgrounds, so there's no perfect plan," he said. "People need to remember we are a school and the mission is to create an environment for our students that's going to maximize their learning. We didn't want to create a prison. We wanted to create a learning environment in which students are comfortable. They feel safe, but as importantly, they feel like they're free to learn and grow as young people."