Administrators at Hollis Brookline High School in Hollis, New Hampshire, have announced they would like to implement required background checks on all visitors to the school, as part of new security procedures. According to Principal Cynthia Matte, “the security of our students and staff is the number one priority.” “We do need to add some security measures; it’s just good practice. When this school was built, security wasn’t thought of as a requirement, and we’re just trying to correct that.” The new security procedures come after a security audit performed at the school five years ago, and is comprised of a three-phase plan to improve the school’s security as part of a joint effort by school staff members and local safety experts.
Presented to the school board in May, the plan is still pending approval. If approved this summer, the plan will be implemented over the course of three years. The background check phase of the plan would include the use of software to scan the driver’s licenses of visitors to screen for registered sex offenders, domestic violence offenders, and other offenses that could potentially pose a threat to students. The software would instantly alert designated officials via email, telephone and text message if a threat is identified. An ID badge is printed for visitors cleared by the software. At a cost of $500 annually, the software would also track faculty and volunteer hours, as well as the arrival and departure of students.
New ID cards would be issued to students and staff, as well as hardware to secure all exterior doors and the installation of key swipe pads at the front and back doors, as part of the first phase of the plan. Cameras at each exit are also included. The keypads track who comes into the building and at what time, and can be programmed to work only at certain times of the day or year only. Although Matte says the school has already made some of the smaller changes recommended by the audit, more needs to be done. “It’s something that’s been on our radar, knowing that we have to tighten up security,” she said. She adds that due to increased incidents of school violence, the staff at the high school is taking a more proactive approach to security measures.
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