Starting Tuesday, Cherry Hill parents will have to stop at the reception desk or main office in the district's schools to drop off homework, lunches, or musical instruments for their children.

That restriction is one of several new measures going into effect as the result of a districtwide security assessment conducted in the wake of December's school shooting in Newtown, Conn.

The rules, announced by Superintendent Maureen Reusche at a PTA meeting earlier this month, place limits on parents' presence in the district's 19 schools.

Parents will no longer be able to walk their children into the building in the morning, except at the Barclay Early Childhood Center, a preschool. Only two parents per classroom will be allowed to help during class or grade parties, and teachers will be required to give principals the names of adult visitors a day in advance.

Other school districts that have taken similar steps include Moorestown, which recently asked parents to refrain from entering schools to drop off items for their children.

Cherry Hill is trying to "walk a fine line" with the new rules, Reusche said, improving safety without barring parent participation in the schools.

"One of the things that our principals value is that their buildings are a second home for your children," Reusche told parents at the PTA meeting. "And they don't want to lose that atmosphere."

The rules stem from a review conducted by district staff and Cherry Hill police after the massacre at Sandy Hook Elementary School in Newtown, where 26 people, including 20 children, were shot and killed.

Police in Cherry Hill "walked every facility," Reusche said. "They met with building principals. They met with staff."

While the review encompassed areas including building access and communication, most of the recommendations related to behavioral changes, Reusche said.

In addition to the rules affecting parents, school employees will be required to wear ID badges at all times on district property, and visitors will be required to wear guest badges.

Delivery personnel will not be allowed to enter the schools unless district administrators have notified the main office beforehand.

Other changes that will go into effect this fall are physical. Both high schools will get a buzzer system - already in place at the elementary and middle schools, where visitors must buzz in and be admitted to the building by staff.

New locking mechanisms will be added to classroom doors, as well as cafeterias, gyms, and auditoriums. The changes will be in place by the start of next school year, Reusche said.

Contact Maddie Hanna

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