School District Implements New Safety Measures: Hi-Tech Door Locks and Ballistic Film For Glass
Darren Doyle, story and photo:
The Edmonson County School District has implemented two major safety upgrades for schools across the county this year, in an effort that ECHS Principal Tommy Hodges called being "proactive, not reactive."
All local schools have upgraded their office entry system to video doorbell that will require each visitor to check in with school personnel before entering a school office.
Principal Hodges and front office staff member Danielle Lindsey demonstrated the system today. It consists of a camera and doorbell unit near the office door handle, which remains locked. A person requesting to enter the office either can look in the window of the office door so that office personnel can see you are there, or you can press the doorbell.
Hodges said you'll then be verbally greeted by someone inside through the intercom on the unit and you'll be asked to provide your name and reason for visiting. After showing a valid identification, the office staff will be able to unlock the door from the inside and allow entry.
"We know some might see this as an inconvenience, and no single safety measure is guaranteed to 100% prevent an incident; however, we're trying to implement measures that are the most feasible, and this is one way for us to have more control over who we allow to come into our schools."
ECMS Principal Brandon Prunty said much of the same.
"There's obviously a learning curve with anything new and that's the case here, but we've not heard one negative reaction to the upgraded door," he said.
Also implemented this year is a new ballistic protective film that not only serves as a major upgrade to tempered glass, but will withstand many types of handgun and rifle rounds. Both principals discussed how effective the new film is.
"You're not going to be able to smash the glass with something like a baseball bat," said Hodges. "And it would take someone with an ax upwards of 5 minutes to get through the glass. Even at that, they'd have to figure out how to physically move through it. By that time, we would already have our other safety protocols in place where those inside would be in a safe lockdown."
Hodges also said that even if certain types of firearm rounds were able to penetrate the glass, there would only be holes the size of the bullet itself, not a shattered piece of glass.
According to Superintendent Patrick Waddell, the improvements were an approximate $45,000 investment for the school system.
Each Edmonson County school is still getting used to the doorbell system, and while there were a few reported issues early, Prunty said it's a very effective system that's been welcomed by most all users.
"We ask our visitors to be patient and have your I.D. ready," he added. "We apologize for any inconvenience this may cause, but the safety of our students is the number one goal here and these are great ways to help us move forward with that."