TACOMA, Wash. – Tacoma Public Schools are testing a new video monitoring security system for people trying to enter selected school buildings while class is in session. The school district looked at a number of different security options after the Sandy Hook Elementary School shooting in Connecticut.
The video monitoring system has been installed at four schools in the district. Campuses at these schools are completely locked up from arrival to dismissal.
Anyone trying to get into the school building during those hours must show ID at the video camera installed at the front entrance of the school before they’re allowed inside. Along with showing an ID, visitors have to explain why they’re there.
School staff monitor the video from a computer system at the main office and then decide whether to buzz the visitor, student, staff or parent indoors.
The four schools were picked because of issues with their layouts. Staff couldn’t see where people went after they entered through the main doors. For example, at Mason Middle School the main office isn’t near the front entrance.
The district has heard some complaints about inconvenience, but overall staff and students say they feel safer knowing exactly who’s coming into their building.
“I do think it’s necessary and unfortunately they don’t have these in my children’s schools. I wish they would, as a parent, mom and employee I feel like our school building is safe and secure,” said Andrea Borell, Mason Middle School secretary.
Each video monitor security system costs $10,000 and was paid for by a Capital Bond Levy passed by voters. If the district determines they’re effective, the video monitoring system could roll out to other schools in the district.