Securing Our Future

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Securing Our Future

The new front door system at EHS

The new front door system at EHS

Thomas O'Connor

The new front door system at EHS

Thomas O'Connor

Thomas O'Connor

The new front door system at EHS

Jaydin Webb, Editor in chief

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When you returned from Thanksgiving break, you may have noticed a change in the way you enter the front of the high school. Once you walk through the main double doors, you see thick metal holding up glass panes where a door used to be. On the left, a small sliding glass door. It feels, to some, like a drive-up window. On the other side of the window, security staff. Visitors will be asked to show ID. “I think they did that to give the people in the office more privacy or something. I don’t know if it makes me feel completely safe,” said Jason Turner (12) who noticed the change right away. Mikayla Frye (11) knew the school district took advantage of the Thanksgiving break to make changes, “I think they changed it because they saw an opportunity. Honestly, I didn’t even notice it so I don’t know if I’d say it’s safer. I think it’s an inconvenience to a degree because if it’s a family emergency or something it’s going to make things harder for people.”

According to Englewood District Safety procedures, across the district, at each school site, all visitors must be buzzed in after a staff member has seen them on an outside camera. Each door at every school is to remain locked in order to ensure visitors must enter through the main entrance where they will need to present identification and be run through the Raptor Visitor Management System. This system screens visitors against the registered sex offender databases and alerts our staff if a visitor should not be entering the building. Each visitor is then given a temporary badge to wear while inside the building, indicating that he or she has been cleared for entry. All Englewood Schools employees wear their identification badges so that staff is easily recognizable.

Active video cameras at all of our school sites allow security to monitor and review any activity that occurs. Because the change was unexpected, many students are struggling with the change, “I don’t know if it’s safer that way. You don’t need to take a detour into the main office. People who are coming in from lunch, I’ve become accustomed to walking into the office. It is a change I wasn’t ready for. It’s not much of an inconvenience,” said Luna McConnell (10).

Others will have to change their behavior, “It is an inconvenience for students because now they have to go around to get to the office and wait for that second door to be unlocked,” said Turner. District experts say this is only the case if students walk in after the first bell has rung or at lunch, “It is a bit of an inconvenience when you’re running late, but gives a sense of protection,” said Kadin Gamet (12). “It is protection from the outside world. If you are being sought out, you can find security behind the doors,” said Gamet.

The new setup helps the security guards feel a little safer, “We added the new security feature to make the school more secure and to make sure strangers don’t come inside our school. The security team checks doors and exits two times a day to make sure they are locked so no one gets in that isn’t supposed to be here.” said security guard Marquise Evans.

Mandy Braun, the District Director of Safety and Security says it was a priority to install the window now, “The safety of our students and staff is our highest priority and we vowed to the Englewood voters who passed the bond that we would ensure that our new buildings would be safe and secure,” said Braun, “Many schools, including our new buildings, are being designed with entrance vestibules that have an “admission” area. This is a room where a school official can interact with parents and others who have school business but do not necessarily need access to the entire school. This also allows school officials to check-in visitors through our visitor management system prior to allowing entry into the building.”

Braun says the initial design of the TEC campus included many safety features but did not factor in an entryway. That has been remedied, “Unfortunately, the TEC campus was not designed with this type of vestibule, which allowed any person who was buzzed into the main office could bypass checking in and have access to the entire building. This is a major safety concern which needed to be addressed as soon as possible. Again, thanks to the Englewood voters, we are able to use bond premium to provide the same security as our new buildings.”

Not only is the front entrance safer, each classroom is secure, “We also installed dormitory push-button security locks on every classroom door this past summer,” said Braun, “and just completed installing an electronic door monitoring system at TEC.”

You may have seen that the doors you enter through now have red shiny warning stickers. One press of the handle and a shrieking alarm sounds off. This new addition is supposed to help keep students from entering side doors and instead use the main office doors.

The cost for the upgraded safety features was approximately 45-thousand dollars for the middle and high school vestibule.

Members of the TEC campus Security staff conduct door checks several times a day. Braun says this is one of many steps staff take to ensure students safety, “The Security staff check doors throughout the day to make sure they are not propped open and are securely latched. The vestibule is another safety measure, which allows Security staff to verify and monitor those entering the building.”

The focus on student safety is evolving and future changes are in the works, “All exterior doors throughout the district will be re-keyed and the cylinders will be replaced,” said Braun, “All schools will also have an electronic locking system and Intelligent Key System which will prove Controlled Access, Accountability, Physical Security, and System Management.”

“I think it is better for our school. The office personnel can keep better track of who is coming into our school and keep strangers out of the school,” said Matthew Turner (12).

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