Security is changing once again in Chippewa Valley Schools, with plans now underway to place a security guard and possibly install a buzzer entry system at every school building in the district.
On the Monday following the mass shooting in Newtown, CT, Chippewa Valley ordered all of its buildings into modified lockdown. This state of heightened security meant locked main entrances and interior classroom doors, cancellation of outdoor recess and the presence of greeters at each main door to check visitors’ photo identification.
While Superintendent Ron Roberts said the majority of parents responded favorably to the increased security, he added that not all of these measures are sustainable or beneficial to student learning.
He used the greeters, many of whom are substitute teachers, as an example.
“We need those people back in the classroom,” Roberts said, noting that the position of greeter is set to expire on Jan. 18.
However, feeling that this type of role remains necessary, the school board gave Roberts the OK to hire security guards for the district’s preschool, elementary and middle school buildings. Security guards that monitor the parking lots and liaison officers with the Macomb County Sheriff’s Office are currently on staff at the high schools.
Once in place, these guards would serve for the remainder of the 2012-13 school year.
The district also intends to explore the cost of installing a buzzer entry system in each of its school buildings. At present, the majority of Chippewa Valley schools feature card readers on its exterior doors and sally port entrances.
Where the card readers limit outside access to faculty and staff, the sally port entrances channel visitors into the school office before they can gain access to the rest of the building.
The buzzer system, should it be implemented, would use audio and visual components to allow office staff to assess visitors prior to allowing them entry.
“We have to be proactive about this,” said Trustee Tammy Reynolds of considering such a system. “I’d like it go to back to business as usual, but I don’t think it’s the way to move forward. We can’t be alarmist. We have to be careful with how we proceed but we need to do more.”
If anything, Trustee Frank Bednard said he believes a buzzer system would help combat the more immediate threat of disorderly parents.
“I’d be far more threatened that someone comes in to kidnap a child as a bargaining tool,” Bednard said. “A buzzer system is definitely something to look at. It would keep by and far most prominent threat out.”
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