As students across the U.S. are getting ready to go back to school, some focused on getting the cutest folders and the coolest markers and crayons others focused on the hottest fashion trends, school districts are ramping up security efforts. Let’s take a look at what some select schools are doing across the nation to keep students, faculty and staff safe during the 2014-15 school year.
Lake Washington School District, Redmond, Washington
With many security features in full operation, teachers and staff are prepared to welcome approximately 750 students back to school. Starting at the front door next to an office window, an armed police officer stands. Just inside the school is an interior wall with a second round of doors that are able to be locked when needed, but according to school Principal Erin Bowser, they will be locked every morning after students arrive.
Sections of the school building are broken into pods that can be locked down and found throughout the building are buttons connected to a two-way intercom system. This allows teachers to quickly connect and communicate with the front office.
The recess area is closed off with a modern, hard-to-climb fence complete with a door that is locked from the outside.
Browser realizes that a building can only provide so much security, so safety drills and education are the cherry on top to increasing safety on their school campus.
Denver Public School District, Denver, Colorado
In 2012, voters approved a bond to help fund new security measures in these schools and this year, these measures are coming to fruition. Upgrades include employee identification badges, card readers and panic buttons as well as the latest lockdown notification technology.
One elementary school in particular will demonstrate new security measures and conduct a drill on new lockdown procedures on the first morning of school.
Rockford Public Schools, Rockford, Michigan
A multi-million dollar bond was passed in which $11 million will be used to improve security and safety for schools. All front entrances of each of the 13 buildings will be redesigned, building a vestibule at each school with shatter-proof glass windows on the first floors. Construction is scheduled to be completed sometime next year.
Also, after each school day begins, all front doors will be locked so anyone needed to gain entry must ring a doorbell and identify themselves prior to being allowed inside the building.
North Texas School Districts, Dallas, Texas Area
Even though a new Texas law allows educators to carry concealed handguns on school campuses, most won’t be armed; however, instead of arming teachers, doors are getting fortified and more cameras are being installed.
At Dallas ISD, educators now use electronic key cards to access side doors of school buildings and visitors must go through the front office. Optical eye ports are on all portable classrooms so the teacher to see who is outside before opening the door. This district also has a goal of having one district police officer per every 1,000 students, even though currently it’s 120 officers per 160,000 students. And, all school employees receive active-shooter training.
Cedar Hill ISD police officers use empty school buildings during the summer months as training facilities to prepare for a range of emergencies including an active shooter. Officers also train new principals and staff on security procedures to help encourage constant training and thinking.
In Ennis ISD, every classroom has emergency bags with first-aid kits and flip charts instructing teachers on what they should do in various scenarios like an intruder on campus or a bomb threat.
The Kaufman Police Department regularly hosts disaster drills to ensure everyone remembers appropriate procedures while Argyle ISD has approved having marshals on campus. These marshals were selected by the school board to undergo 80 hours of training to carry a concealed handgun on campus.
South Pasadena, Los Angeles, California
Just days after a mass shooting plot was foiled by police, identifying two teenage boys entering their senior year as the suspects who wanted to “kill as many people as possible,” counselors will be available for students as classes resume.
Although this is but a smidgen of the schools across America, what is your take on the safety and security procedures these schools are incorporating? Do you agree or disagree with the actions being taken? What other things should schools be doing to ensure security on their campus?