The School Security Ad Hoc Committee went before the Orange Board of Finance on Monday night to present its safety proposal and request needed funding in order to implement the measures immediately.
The Committee, which includes members of the police and fire departments, Board of Ed, teachers, parents, technology and security specialists and others, have met as a whole at least twice and thoroughly examined the Orange school buildings and discussed what it will take to keep the children safe.
During the presentation, they assured the Finance Board that they had done their research and each of them understood concepts and terms such as “line of sight,” “shatter-guard,” and “sally-ports.” and the difference between prevention and mitigation.
They stressed there was nothing knee jerk in the proposal, which includes common sense enhancements that mitigate a potential situation, contemporary updates to multi-use security applications that take advantage of technology.
They want to implement steps that other districts already have taken in the past 6 to 10 years.
The BOE Facilities Director has worked collaboratively with the police and fire departments since 2006 and most recently Jan. 17, on its SWOT Analysis: Strengths, Weaknesses, Opportunities and Threats (critical infrastructure assessments).
Many of the recommendations, including surveillance cameras are just out of reach, but providing all of the classrooms with window blinds, continuing lock-down drills and using a sign-in system.
According to the presentation the schools already have begun several key issues to provide a safe environment, including bullying prevention, positive behavior intervention and adding a full-time school resource officer.
The “soft” estimated cost for the immediately attainable measures is $730,000.
• Assigning a trained full time school resource officer to the schools. This way an officer is an unscheduled, unannounced presence at each of the schools on a daily basis. At which school he will be at a certain time makes it impossible for someone to “Plan” an attack on a school.
The school resource officer also would work with students on issues like bullying, substance abuse, decision-making and communications media.
• They want to immediately install Rapid Call Buttons at all four schools — this is a mass notification system: 1-step push of a button to make both a pre-recorded loud speaker announcement and 911 call simultaneously.
The estimated cost for all four schools is $29,000.
• ID Badge Entry System — Install ID Card readers to open locked entryway doors on color coded lanyards. Changing exterior doors.
The estimated cost with panic button for all four schools is $150000.
• Changing classroom door locks that would auto-lock from the hallway.
Classroom doors will be locked at all times when the room is empty.
The lock sets at one building would be keyed together and teachers, administrators and rescuers can access each secure classroom.
The estimated cost is $150 per installed lock-set — totaling $97,000.
• One of the most expensive proposals, at $430,000 is a video surveillance system that would monitor entrances, playgrounds, in offices, common areas and down the hallways, which would enable real-time monitoring, and allow authorities to review recordings should an incident occur.
• The BOE requested support for the Police department’s wireless backhaul system request which is needed for surveillance cameras at a cost of $125,000. And Support for the police departments personnel request to accommodate a full-time SRO in the schools (undetermined cost).
Orange Live will have more information as it becomes available.