The extra security efforts will be in addition to existing safety measures.
“We have procedures in place,” Superintendent Stan Surratt said. “Most schools do. We follow them and try to create the safest environment we can.”
The district’s board of trustees approved a $14,800 budget amendment Monday evening for the purchase and installation of buzzers, intercoms and television monitors at its five elementary school campuses, Surratt said.
The new security measures will be installed at Lindale’s Early Childhood Center, College Street Elementary School, Velma Penny Elementary School and the east and west campuses of E.J. Moss Intermediate School, according to a news release from the district.
Each building serves about 400 students daily, and in total the district educates about 2,000 elementary school-aged children, Surratt said.
Surratt said all exterior doors will be locked after the busy drop-off and pick-up times. Visitors will have to be buzzed into the school’s office after their identity is confirmed on the camera.
Once inside, visitors will have to go through existing safety procedures. Surratt said their driver’s license will be scanned through its existing RAPTOR program, which checks the person’s identity against a database of sexual offenders. The visitor will then be given a visitor pass.
He said most often visitors are parents wishing to have lunch with their child, or parent-teacher conference visits.
“We also have a great deal of volunteers that read to students,” he said. “On them we do background checks.”
More safety features may be added.
“We are going to be looking at other things,” Surratt said. “We are not trying to have a knee-jerk reaction to the Sandy Hook tragedy … We are going to have a well thought out safety program, and we are open to suggestions from experts law enforcement that would make us more safe.”
Trustees also discussed employing an additional school resource officer at Monday’s meeting, the release states. The district currently employs two fulltime resource officers to assist with district security issues.
“We are reviewing other potential safety measures to make our campuses even safer,” Surratt said. “We need to make sound, well-educated decisions concerning additional safety measures. We will continue to review our current safety procedures and discuss and initiate new security measures. Student and staff safety in our schools is our top priority.”