Forest Grove schools implement new building security
After many months of discussion and planning, the Forest Grove School District will see some changes to its building's security next week.
Starting Monday, Jan. 28, all schools in the district will use a new camera and buzzer system as a means for gaining entry to the building once school starts.
"This is something that we have been looking at for a while and we are going to go ahead and implement," district spokesman David Warner said. "We are excited about it. It's just one more thing that we can implement to increase the safety and security of our students and our staff and our community members who are coming and volunteering in our schools with our students."
Currently, all of the doors of school buildings are locked once school starts, except for the front door. Visitors are required to stop by the front office to check in, but in practice, that step can be circumvented without much difficulty.
"With the implementation of this new system ... if a parent or volunteer is coming to the school for whatever reason, they will no longer be able to just walk into the school and turn and go into the office to sign in, which is the protocol right now," Warner said. "To gain entry, they will be required to push the buzzer, look in the camera, talk with the secretary at the front desk and state their name, state what their purpose for coming is, and if everything feels good, the secretary will buzz them in and they will ask them to report directly to the office."
School officials have been working to inform families of the new practice before the system goes live next Monday, Warner said.
With school security an increasingly hot topic in recent years with a rise in school shootings plaguing the country, questions have been raised about just how safe school buildings are. For Forest Grove schools, it's a step in the right direction, Warner said.
"We just feel that as a district, that's in the forefront of our mind and it's our biggest duty to make sure that we are constantly looking for the best ways to keep our students and staff and our community members safe when they are in our buildings," Warner said. "This is just another piece in that effort to keep people safe and secure."
By Olivia Singer
Reporter, Forest Grove News-Times and Hillsboro Tribune
Follow Olivia at @oliviasingerr
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