The Board of Education received initial approval for a $1.4 million interim appropriation to beef up security for the district's 15 schools.
The Greenwich Board of Estimate and Taxation unanimously voted to recommend approval of the request to the full BET when it holds its monthly meeting March 18 at Town Hall.
Police Chief James Heavey said, "It is crime prevention by environmental design. We’re really on target in retrofitting the schools that are older and hadn’t had things done. The newer schools already have them but we want to make changes so they don't look like a prison ... slow down (access by an armed visitor) and keep the openness of the newer schools."
To that end, the Board of Education plans to install new locks, entry monitoring systems including closed circuit television camera and recording systems, window shades, protective glass film and an electronic emergency information guide for school and emergency officials with detailed floor plans, maps, evacuation routes, re-unification plans.
Among the enhancements:
- The new lock system, teachers will be able to lock classroom doors from inside the rooms.
- School entry ways will be monitored with video and audio.
- Shades will be installed on all windows in all schools.
- Police will have electronic card keys to gain access to all rooms in all schools.
Greenwich Schools Superintendent William McKersie said, "These are facility enhancements. This is about slowing bad people down. Can we keep them out fully? No. Can we slow them down? Yes … slowing access so emergency personnel can get there."
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McKersie added, "And then make it as though there are no children there…..as though no one is there. We want to be able to slow people down with what we have facility wise."
McKersie also said the security plan will include training of personnel and education of students. The plan has been reviewed by school administrators and is scheduled for review by the PTA Council in coming weeks, McKersie said.
First Selectman Peter Tesei, who's been reviewing security options with school officials since the Dec. 14 shooting in Newtown, said, "I support the work…..It’s a lot of money … It’s a judgment call. We’re all elected to make judgment calls. I think the alternative will be far more costly and painful for us."