Firm suggests security upgrades for city schools

Published 4:52 am Saturday, July 23, 2011

FRANKLIN—Franklin City Public Schools should further restrict access to areas of the schools, improve student and faculty identification procedures, and reconfigure its sufficient quantity of security cameras at the schools, according to a security expert.

Ron Faw with Honeywell proposed these changes during Thursday’s Franklin School Board meeting.

The board agreed it would look at Honeywell’s proposal but invited other companies to send in proposals.

“I’ve talked to the principals at the schools, and we have some concerns about the safety of the buildings,” Superintendent Dr. Michelle Belle said. “We want to have this done before the start of the new school year.”

Honeywell had not submitted a formal proposal, so Belle was unsure of the costs.

Faw made several suggestions to the board after visiting the schools and conducting a security survey. He made suggestions Thursday based on the easiest, most inexpensive upgrades available.

Faw said he would like to see emergency codes be consistent throughout the district, instead of each school having its own set of codes.

He suggested a more consistent identification process for students and teachers. Right now, teachers wear badges, but not all the time. This change would make an outsider stick out more.

“I’m a big fan of ‘everybody wears them,’” Faw told the board. “People who are not wearing IDs become a question mark.”

Faw said the schools need one person or one group to make sure perimeter doors are secured. He told the board the job gets done now, but not in an organized manner.

Faw suggested installing an electronic keypad or an intercom release system at S.P. Morton Elementary.

“It’s not unreasonable to make someone hit a buzzer,” he said.

Also at S.P. Morton, Faw recommended keycard access to portable classrooms where there is “no physical obstacle” between students in those rooms and the general public.

Faw told the board that having the Boys & Girls Club use the same space as elementary school students toward the end of the school day was also a concern. He suggested controlling the access of club members until the majority of the school-based population of S.P. Morton leaves.

“The Boys & Girls Club is like a different universe of students that gets intermingled there,” Faw said. Faw suggested each school designate an individual or group to supervise students during class changes.

“It’s getting done, but I would like it to be more formalized,” he said.

Faw said he would also like the schools to implement clear and concise signage that would let visitors know where the office is and require each visitor should report to the office.

Faw applauded the division for using security cameras but said the system needs to reconfigured.

He suggested the existing system be upgraded so it can be accessed via the Internet to allow the Franklin Police Department or the division’s central office to view the footage if necessary. Faw also suggested implementing motion detection on the cameras in order to allow them to record hallways only when something is happening. He also suggested proper alphanumeric nomenclature or description of room numbers on monitors.