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Schools seek to control access

 

FRANK TAYLOR

Managing Editor

 

Magnetically coded entry cards and vestibule-type holding areas for visitors appear to be in the works at most Lincoln County elementary and middle schools.

Board members discussed the new security measures and other options during a special called committee session Thursday evening.

The schools have already issued a request for proposals from vendors on installing the magnetic entry systems, to help control access. The board voiced a general consensus in favor or such a system over alternatives like number pads, which would be vulnerable to code-sharing.

Schools Facilities Director Darrell Gettys talked with board members about his findings during a series of walkthroughs at the county’s schools, noting that each school building presents different issues.

After looking at various options, board members authorized Gettys to evaluate the best way to install a vestibule-type system to control access at each school, provided that it could be done without making that school less safe during a fire and would not result in an unreasonable cost.

Board members also discussed the importance of establishing and following procedures for having staff in place during drop-off and release times and carefully controlling access during the day.

Board members generally agreed that an unknown person who did not appear on any child’s list of contacts should not be given access.

Other ideas for increased security remain under exploration, including adding school resource officers at more schools.

The issue of better security at lower-grade schools has been a priority since a shooting massacre at a Connecticut elementary school in December.

In other action, board members also supported a request from West Lincoln High School to adjust ongoing upgrades to its track facility so that more lanes are created for high-jump competitors. The change would allow for a quicker completion of track events, which is important since the facility is not lit for nighttime competition.

The board’s next regular session is scheduled for Feb. 12.

 

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