Council Rock administrators are recommending a series of security upgrades, staffing additions and facility improvements in an attempt to improve overall safety within the district.
Superintendent Mark Klein outlined the recommendations at a school board meeting Thursday. The recommendations include improved visitor controls, facility improvements, training, intervention and increased staffing.
The administration based their recommendations on suggestions from the community through three public forums on school security that were held in response to the school shooting in Newtown, Conn.
Klein stressed that Council Rock is a very safe school district. He said the recommendations to improve security within the district aim to strike a balance between fostering and open, caring school environment while keeping students safe.
The district wants to avoid an “overly locked down” environment that would only create anxiety and not serve to protect students from the risks faced on a regular day, Klein said.
If the district chose to implement all improvements and increased staffing recommendations, it would come with an estimated $800,000 price tag. Click here for a full chart of the recommendations and costs.
To control who comes in and out of the schools, the administration is recommending a series of visitor control improvements. A visitor access system that would require visitors to obtain a badge with their photo is recommended. Additionally, the administration is recommending that all schools have secure vestibules, which would allow visitors access to the office but not the school itself.
Panic buttons, which would send an immediate call to 9-1-1, should be installed in each school, district officials say.
Facility improvements, like a key swipe entry system, more security cameras and entry glass treatments are also being recommended. Currently there are 144 cameras in the various schools. Klein said he’d like to add at least 50 more. The cameras, he said, act as an important deterrent. “We want people to know they are on camera,” he said.
Drills, security audits, random police presence and a tip line are also being recommended. Plus, the administration is recommending an increase in counseling staff as well as the addition of a security person who would serve in the elementary schools as well as have a hand in implementing and maintaining the new technology.