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Manchester Schools To Review Security

District will inspect buildings, and look into establishing a "swipe-card" entry system

In the wake of the Newtown, Conn. shooting massacre, the Manchester School District will review whether its infrastructure and security system are keeping students and faculty completely safe.

David Trethaway, Manchester's superintendent of schools, said the district and the Manchester Police Department will soon work together in inspecting the schools to determine their safety, among other tasks.

"We'll be walking the schools," Trethaway told the Board of Education during its Wednesday evening meeting.

School officials assured residents that they believe the district already operates in a very safe manner and "everybody has been very attentive to security issues," Trethaway said.

But the superintendent said the district will consider two possible measures that could help beef up an already reliable system:

  • Meeting with an outside security company to discuss increasing the surveillance of the district's facilities; and
  • Replacing the "buzzing-in" system of entry with a procedure that would require some to swipe cards as a way to gain access to buildings.

"Buzzing-in is taxing our system," said Trethaway, noting the procedure school secretaries and officials currently follow to allow some employees and others to enter school buildings.

Manchester Board of Education President Donald Webster said this is not the first time the district has addressed security issues. But the Newtown massacre that left 20 school children and 6 adults dead, the board acknowledged, has given school security renewed focus.

"We're hoping to pick up information we otherwise didn't think about," Webster said.

Frank Wells January 17, 2013 at 08:47 PM
Do we have armed security officers in each school?...Is anyone looking into that possibility and it's attendant costs? It seems only the very wealthy school districts offer such protection... shouldn't we at least examine such an idea to protect our children?
ROSE January 17, 2013 at 09:28 PM
I agree with Frank. The shooter in Conn. shot his way into the school. A card swipe system obviously would not have stopped him. I believe that armed TRAINED security is the only at this time.
Bryan January 18, 2013 at 12:40 AM
My only concern is when you get buzzed in you are Told to report to the office there should be another buzzed door system to gain access to the hallways of the school. This way once you are in you have no choice to go into the office area. Because if someone who is known to staff doesnt mean they arent carring something or wanting to do harm. Even having to get buzzed into the office as well. And have some kind of armed guard. I m sure funding can be found some how!
bhavaja January 18, 2013 at 02:05 PM
Agree with Bryan- keep hallway to classrooms second entry ...when you say swipe system- do you mean fingerprint or pupil (eye) recognition? Swipe cards are easily lost or stolen... this latter system can also serve as time clock.
veronica January 19, 2013 at 12:43 AM
Safest is fingerprint!!! Can't loose or steal!!! That's how we clock in at work!!! Best security, no one can duplicate your fingerprint.
Mark Wendell January 19, 2013 at 09:06 PM
You can't stop a Newton type incident at the door, even if you block the hallways off there are a thousand very large windows that make a easy shooting gallery. You don't need access to the school. What about playground or gym time? They are outside in plain view next to free and open neighborhoods in some case's. What about the buses driving by? I admit Manchester's security is a bit lax but armed security and buzz cards don't stop madmen. Let's say for example if you blocked up Ridgeway School's lobby so you would need to be invited into the school through the office. What would one of the office staff do if a madmen with a gun enters? Let them in? Be mowed down by the nut and he gets in anyway? Who knows. A buzz card may however stop a parent from abducting a kid from the school though......... oh I forgot they would just grab them off the playground right infront of the two 80 year old lunch aides. All security does is make people feel all warm and fuzzy inside.
Frank Wells January 21, 2013 at 02:28 PM
You are wrong. ARMED, TRAINED security would confront that madman with a gun and kill him if necessary. Buzz cards are not the answer...lethal response is...ask the security companies who protect the wealthy private schools!

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