As we advocate for more mental health resources, we must also continue to invest in and maintain our security infrastructure. Here are just few examples of how we're doing that:
Front Entrance Access Control – All schools have a front entrance access control system, including a camera and remote unlocking mechanism to manage who enters the building. Once admitted, visitors are expected to come to the main office. If you witness even one instance of that not happening, I want you to email me personally at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Raptor Visitor Management System – Upon entry, everyone must sign in through our Raptor visitor management system, which screens for several things, including anyone designated a sexual predator. Again, if you witness even one instance of someone not signing in through Raptor, I want you to email me personally at email@example.com.
Metal Detectors – We currently have metal detectors at our high schools, and I have asked the School Board to consider adding them to our middle schools. I am mindful of and share the concerns related to adding more metal detectors. We do not want our schools to feel like “hardened” institutions, and we do not want our students to feel “policed.” I also recognize that metal detectors are not a panacea. But I also feel strongly that we have an obligation to do everything we possibly can to keep our students and staff safe.
Passcard Entry System – Using funds from a state security grant, we are in the process of installing passcard entry systems for key doors at every school across the division. This will help ensure, for example, that doors are not propped open for recess or other activities, as teachers will be able to simply use a passcard to regain entry.
Intruder Alert System – Using these same funds, we are also installing an intruder alert system for all schools, which will notify personnel in the main office if someone has entered through an unauthorized door.
Intercoms – We are also fixing and/or upgrading all intercom systems to ensure schools are able to quickly and efficiently communicate during an emergency.
Video Camera Surveillance – In addition, we are upgrading all of our video surveillance systems to meet a minimum standard of coverage in every building and to record to the cloud, which will give safety personnel more timely access to the footage.
I also want you all to know that we work closely with RPD every single day to protect our students, and I am personally in touch with Chief Edwards on a regular basis. In fact, earlier today, I asked for him for an enhanced RPD presence when students and staff arrive at school tomorrow. So please do not be alarmed if you see additional cruisers and officers in the morning.
In short, we will continue to be extremely vigilant in protecting our students and staff. All I ask for is your help: if you see something, say something. Tell a teacher or anyone at school. You can even reach out to me directly. Nothing is too small to report. Thank you in advance for your assistance.
I want to close tonight with one event update. I am sure many of you recall the tragic loss of 9-year-old Markiya Dickson several years ago. She was caught in the crossfire of a gun fight while playing in Fonticello Park with her family on Memorial Day weekend.
Her family and friends, along with a number of local leaders, have worked to transform the park where she was killed with a new playground and splash pad. Called the Markiya Dickson Imagination Zone, this upgraded area of the park will open with a ribbon cutting and community picnic from noon to 2 pm this Saturday, April 1. Everyone is invited. Please wear pink and come out to celebrate the life and memory of Markiya.