The Freehold Regional High School District (FRHSD) completed their safety and security plan in November, several weeks prior to the Newtown, Conn. shooting. In the aftermath of the tragedy, however, the district is working in conjunction with local law enforcement officials to ensure the protection of all students.
“It was very important to us when we came together as an administrative team to take a look at what we were doing as it related to our security, to not focus on a lot of the good work that has already been underway to improve our security in our school district, and not to jump to any knee-jerk reactions without fully vetting those reactions,” FRHSD Superintendent Charles Sampson said at the Board of Education meeting last week.
The administrative team evaluated the district's infrastructure and physical plant, looking at the security of the buildings, doors, exterior exits, and systems within the buildings, according to Sampson.
Some new changes to the security of the buildings include the installation of buzzer systems with cameras and having security guards man the areas by the entrance of the high school and at the delivery areas of the building.
The use of personnel was also evaluated, Sampson said, including the deployment of school security officers and the utilization of teachers on duty periods. Each of the district buildings currently has multiple security officers, which predominately consist of retired police officers.
All of the cameras within district buildings were also reviewed. There are between 48-60 cameras in each building, Sampson said, and the district is being meticulous about the maintenance of these older camera systems.
The law enforcement officials from district towns have worked collaboratively with the high schools to ensure safety in the schools since the Newtown tragedy. The principals and law enforcement are currently working on what their next steps are going to be, according to the superintendent.
“It is a difficult position for a school building to walk a fine line between security and serving the educational purposes of what those institutions represent in America. We are attempting to walk that line without mincing the security of our students,” Sampson said.
The district will reconvene about the security issue on Jan. 15 and will address more specific action items.
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