Back to School: K.C. School District Updates Security Plan

The Park Hill School District employs surveillance cameras, active shooter training and visitor management to maintain school security.
Published: August 27, 2015

The Park Hill School District, located in Kansas City, updated its security plans in time to welcome students back for the first day of school on Aug. 13.

The district, which has about 10,000 students, is composed of two high schools, three middle schools and 10 elementary schools. The district’s security systems and policies include indoor and outdoor surveillance cameras with centralized monitoring, “active shooter training” for staff, a visitor management plan that limits access to the interior of the school through immediate check-in protocol and other safety measures.

At the school board’s meeting in late July, Josh Colvin, district director of student services, reviewed the progress of a safety and security plan developed by parents, teachers and other community members in 2014, according to the Kansas City Star. The plan is an ongoing process, with additional measures added every year.

“We want a safe and caring environment for our students,” Colvin told the newspaper, adding that part of that includes emergency preparedness training with the help of local law enforcement and the health services department.

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Last year, law enforcement worked with staff on how to respond in the event of a shooter incident by an intruder, he said. The staff did table-top discussions about different scenarios and about how to respond. This training is done on an annual basis.

“There haven’t been any recent incidents in regards to dangerous intruders on the grounds – but that’s something we want to be prepared for,” Colvin said.

In the 2014-2015 school year, the district added more interior cameras, and currently the district is installing additional server capacity for its security video, according to the report. The district is also in the process of adding exterior fencing around all perimeters of the schools; it already has a system in place to monitor school doors.

In the past, a person could enter a school door and walk some distance before checking in at the front desk, but that has changed. The front desks have been repositioned so a visitor has to navigate through a series of front doors. The district reconfigured the entrances of each building so that visitors must check in, according to the report.

Anyone who enters a building to check-in has a photo ID taken, which is stored on the district’s computer system.

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