School Districts Continue to Evaluate Security and Implement Upgrades
It is becoming more common for school districts to asses school security to help decide what changes or upgrades may be needed.
To better gauge what changes may be needed in schools, more safety officials are asking districts to review their security.
In Wyoming, the state Department of Education issued a security survey to administrators, reports the Star Tribune. The survey includes 20 questions for school principals on topics such as threat assessments, training and security entrances. Administrators are to submit their answers by Sept. 23.
“The intent is not to be prescriptive,” said state Superintendent Jillian Balow. “The intent is to make sure we have a baseline of best practices and support systems for schools across the state.”
As part of a $728,995 contract, 192 campuses in the Wake County (N.C.) school system will be reviewed to determine what security improvements are needed, reports the News Observer. Officials from the school district said their number one goal is to build better relationships with students.
“Safety and security is everybody’s responsibility in a district,” said Curt Lavarello, the executive director of the School Safety Advocacy Council. “It doesn’t fall on one person, one name, one title at a specific school site.”
The reviews will be completed within the next six months to outline school safety strategies, reduce crime, violence, and disruptive behavior and improve school-community relations, Lavarello added.
Since Parkland, school security has been a heavily discussed topic throughout so many states and school districts have begun to take action.
For instance, the Natrona County School District in Wyoming hired seven SROs and updated security protocols throughout all schools. Other districts approved policies that allowed trained, approved and willing staff to carry weapons on campus.
For the Utica Community Schools district in Macomb County, Michigan, noticeable security measures have been added in schools, including two sets of doorways and security cameras in the hallways, reports the Macomb Daily.
The measures are part of a $155 million bond passed last November that focuses on school security.
“We continue to have a dialogue about many things, but we still want to maintain our core principal,” UCS Superintendent Christine Johns said. “This is still a place of learning and we want students and parents to walk in and feel like it’s an inviting place while we take those additional security measures. It’s a delicate balance.”
One of the new security upgrades is a new secure entryway that requires all visitors to be buzzed in, walk through two sets of doors and enter through the main office where they will show identification. In addition, security cameras will be replaced or more will be added throughout all high schools, junior high schools and elementary schools.
The next step, Shelby Township Police Deputy Chief Mark Coil said, is getting more funding for mental health.
“Are we identifying at-risk students, are we getting them the help they need, are we identifying these issues prior to an incident occurring?” he asked. “These are things we need to address.”