27 Sep 13
In the wake of tragedies like the Sandy Hook elementary school shootings, districts everywhere are looking to improve their security solutions. One town in Connecticut recently received funding and approved new security measures, Minuteman News Center reported.
The Westport, Conn., school district is receiving nearly $300,000 from the state that will help fund a $1.2 million security project that was recently authorized by the Westport Board of Education.
Westport is just one of 169 schools that have been approved for grants in the first round of education security funding by the state, which be distributed on a prioritized basis according to the scope of upgrades required.
“As a community, Westport is committed to ensuring its students can continue to receive a top notch education in a secure and safe environment,” Representative Gail Lavielle, who is a member of both the Education and Higher Education Committees in Connecticut, said. “This has been a priority of the district and I am very pleased that Westport has been chosen to receive these funds.”
The Connecticut legislature approved $5 million for this type of funding under a Competitive Grant Program that helps fund part of a school district’s security upgrade costs. Some of the upgrades covered under the grant are security software, computerized electronic locks, scan card systems and entry door buzzers.
The board approved upgrades to interior door locks, surveillance cameras and ballistic-grade windows for entryways, according to WestportNews. These upgrades came after an assessment of the school’s security measures in the aftermath of the Sandy Hook shootings.
Now, the school district will be putting together proposal request to take to Westport’s town board of finance to ask for more assistance in funding the security project.
New Jersey town beefing up security force
The Paterson N.J., school district is taking an old school approach to safety. NorthJersey.com reported that the school district will be adding six retired Paterson police officers to their existing security staff.
That makes the total number from the Paterson Police Department jump from 11 members to 17 members and will add to a total of 59 security team members. The staff of 59 is comprised of in-house school district staff, off-duty officers and private contractors.
This comes as a response of two break-ins ate one of the schools in the town. These new officers will be place at schools in the district that did not previously have any security staff working in them.
“We need to have the most qualified officers working for us that we can,” Paterson school board president Christopher Irving told NorthJersey.com.
The district also revised its security plan to allow officers to carry guns after completing a training course. This comes after the practice of allowing retired police officers to carry guns as school security staff members was discontinued just months before the tragedy at Sandy Hook.
However, the school district hasn’t looked into other security measures, such as incident reporting tools or security software that could also help it improve security throughout the town’s public schools.