$500K Proposed For Easton School Security
School district COO has five-point plan involving new cameras, locks and more guards.
When Easton Area students go back to class next fall, they could be doing so in buildings fortified with half-a-million in new security measures.
The school district's chief operating officer has proposed a five-point, $500,000 plan to beef up school security, involving new cameras, new access cards and doors, and more guards.
COO Michael Simonetta outlined his proposal last week to the school board's building and grounds committee, saying he hopes to have the measures approved soon so the work can happen over the summer.
The board charged Simonetta with finding ways to upgrade security earlier this year in the aftermath of the mass school shooting in Newtown, CT.
Here are five things Simonetta proposed:
- A district-wide access system. Right now, different buildings have different ways of letting employees enter. Simonetta proposed a keyless swipe card system that would be installed at all the schools.
- Additional cameras. These cameras would be connected to a DVR system that could record what happens in/near schools after hours.
- More secure front doors. Simonetta pointed to the example of Cheston Elementary School, where there's a long walkway between the front door and the office. He proposed renovations where visitors could be buzzed into the front door, but not allowed directly into the buildings.
- Additional school police officers. Due to budget cuts last year, only Easton Area High School and Easton Area Middle School have police officers. Simonetta said the teachers, administrators and local police he talked to "overwhelmingly" recommended adding more school officers.
- Give local police more school access. Since Newtown, officers from the city and Palmer and Forks townships have had more of a presence in the schools. The district's plan would give police more access, allowing them to tap into security cameras from their cars, and look at blueprints of the school buildings.
The money will come out of the district's capital reserves, Simonetta said, noting that the $500,000 pricetag is an estimate until he knows how much the cameras will cost. The board hopes to finalize the plan by May.