Berlin BOE: School safety is job No. 1 

Berlin BOE: School safety is job No. 1 

Record-Journal

The Berlin Board of Education is committed to ensuring that our schools are safe, secure learning environments for all students. We are continually improving and upgrading various aspects of school security and have been extremely active this year.

The Board of Education, working collaboratively with town officials, has secured funding through state safety and security grants. The current reimbursement rate from the state on eligible items is approximately 45 percent. The projects listed below have been completed or will be completed prior to the start of the 2019-2020 school year.

Security Vestibules – Entrances will be updated to prevent immediate access to school hallways and students and staff. Construction will begin in April/May at Willard Elementary School and during the summer months at Griswold and  Hubbard elementary echools and McGee Middle School.

Phone Systems – The current phone systems are outdated and no longer supported at all three elementary schools. Updating our phone systems has been proposed in the 2019-2020 budget.

Raptor Visitor Management System – This past summer, the Raptor system was installed in all schools, providing an instant background check for all visitors and volunteers that enter the buildings. 

Cameras and Camera System – By updating obsolete camera systems at all elementary schools and McGee Middle School, they will be able to provide better coverage, reliability and connectivity. The new system will be nonproprietary and linked to the Berlin Police Department system. This update has been proposed in the 2019-2020 budget.

Door Lock and Monitoring System – With the exception of Berlin High School, the current magnetic locking system at all schools needs to be updated and door frames may need to be replaced due to wear and age. We are currently researching this project.

Bollards at Berlin High School – Concrete posts will be installed in front of Berlin High School along the front windows, similar to those in front of McGee Middle School. This project is scheduled to be completed before the end of the 2018-2019 school year.

3M Safety & Security Film – 3M Safety film has been applied to various windows at all three elementary schools and McGee. Berlin High School is scheduled to be completed prior to the end of the 2018-2019 school year. The purpose of the 3M Safety & Security Film is to prevent the glass windows from shattering and holding the glass together. The 3M film can slow down an intruder and helps deter unwanted individuals from entering buildings. 

School Security, Safety and Residency Director and Security Guards – The Board of Education is requesting a School Security, Safety and Residency Director and five security guards for the 2019-2020 school year. Delays in hiring this position have been due to a lack of funding and clarity of the position. Since the initial posting for the director’s position several months ago, the mayor and a member of the Town Council have requested that all security personnel be armed.

We have had numerous meetings with town officials, the superintendent of schools, members of the Board of Education, and the police chief to discuss the implications of arming our security staff and to hear from security staff that currently work in other school districts.

This dialogue was continued at our Feb. 11 Board of Education meeting, as we discussed various concerns about firearms being concealed, security staff not wearing uniforms that resemble a police officer’s uniform and the role of the Security, Safety and Residency Director.

An agenda item at the Feb. 25 Board of Education meeting will be a discussion regarding the hiring of armed security guards in the Berlin Public Schools followed by a vote.

Berlin Board of Education meetings are open to the public and all citizens are encouraged to attend. The next Board of Education meeting is scheduled for Monday, Feb. 25, 7 p.m.. at Hubbard Elementary School.

← Submitted by the Berlin Board of Education.


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