Newton Public Schools Security Audits Executive Summary

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1 Newton Public Schools Security Audits Executive Summary February 2013 Security audit process January 3 to administrators on school security January 4 to all staff on school security January 7 Board of Education discussion on school security January 8 Meeting with law enforcement officials to outline audit process January 16 District Safety Team meeting to begin audit February 8 School Safety Teams submit audit findings February 20 District Safety Team makes recommendations based on audit findings February 20 Administrative meeting to discuss procedural changes February 26 Finance Committee and full Board discuss budget impact of recommendations March-Oct. M.O.S.S. technical assistance Priority procedural recommendations 1. Identify and publicize family reunification sites All 2. Digitize school maps All 3. Tighten entry/exit procedures All 4. Develop inquiry procedure before building entry MAS 5. Reroute vehicle traffic HMS 6. Reduce student and staff entry points NHS Priority budgetary recommendations 1. Magnetic strips to lockdown classrooms All 2. Proper signage to direct visitors All 3. Panic button in principal s office to alert emergency responders All 4. Window and door coverings All 5. Additional cameras with central monitor and remote access All 6. Security officers during school day and for PM activities All 7. Stronger mobile communication devices NHS 8. Sidewalk access to A level entry NHS 9. Swipe card access to other entrance doors NHS 10. Repair/replace perimeter fencing HMS 11. Repair/replace fire doors HMS 12. Additional PA speakers to reach all parts of building HMS Page 1 of 5

2 Merriam Avenue School Based on the audit checklist and additional walkthrough with the high school s security officer, Merriam Avenue School is taking appropriate steps to control access to the building and monitor interior spaces within the building. Yet, there are several concerns. Not all doors can be locked from the inside. As a matter of procedure, inquiries are not made about the identity and purpose of a person requesting to enter the front doors. Windows cannot be quickly and easily covered in the event of a lockdown, especially those on interior classroom doors and external doors in Kindergarten classrooms. Maintenance equipment is being stored in the hallway by the gym. A magnetic mechanism attached to the door frame that would allow for quick locking of a door in case of a lockdown. A panic button in the main office to alert emergency responders of an incident. Placing the security video monitor in a location that will allow it to be monitored at all times. Creating placards that can be hooked on to interior and exterior door windows easily and quickly in the event of a lockdown. Halsted Middle School The major findings of this assessment indicate that Halsted Middle School shows a high standard of compliance and care regarding security in all of the areas identified by the National Clearinghouse for Educational Facilities in their NCEF Assessment Guides. With that being said, it should be noted that within each specific subcategory, there remain aspects which can continue to be addressed and/or implemented to improve the current security levels. A complete list of the specific areas for consideration within each subcategory has been prepared and is included in the audit documents. As with all of the subcategories identified within the NCEF Assessment Guides, continued diligence is critical to maintaining high security levels. Page 2 of 5

3 Two specific areas of note which were identified in multiple subcategories were: the presence of an uninterruptible power supply as backup for the existing power supply; and the ability for the public address system to be audible in all areas of the building. Reroute vehicle traffic away from the walkways (school officials, deliveries, community). Install protective fencing around the outdoor stairwell. Repair or replace fencing around the play areas (support poles broken in several areas). Add speakers in key locations to allow the PA system to reach all areas of the building. Reconfigure door locks to allow teachers to secure them from inside the classroom. Enhance the surveillance system (more cameras of better quality, improve accessibility of images from remote locations); provide a backup power source. Repair or replace fire doors to create tighter fit, especially those in the 6th grade hallway where the lift access is located. Newton High School Newton High School has operated successfully for many years as an open campus. This fact presents specific issues when dealing with security. As the historical data show, the school maintains a safe environment. With that said, the School Safety Team has found areas during this security audit where the environment could be made even more secure. The installation of cameras at all exit points and a battery backup during power failure. Slightly tinted window coverings should be installed in all classroom and hallway windows. The recommendation is based on the premise that police have to be able to look into a classroom in order to assess the situation. It was thought that by having the windows slightly tinted would allow the police the ability to assess the situation while deterring unfettered long range views of an outside person with a weapon. The current windows would not have to be replaced. The installation of a tinted covering would only be required. Installing a sidewalk from the A-Level parking out to the entrance in the front of the school. This would allow a central entry at the front of the school and further limit outside access to two doors, the entrance by the athletic director s office and by the Page 3 of 5

4 greenhouse. The three doors which provide access to the outside could be equipped with a security entrance device such as a numbered key pad or swipe card. The committee would defer this option to a security specialist for a determination. Stronger walkie-talkies in the school. The walkie-talkies currently have problems receiving a signal throughout the building. The installation of a panic button in the principal s and/or vice principal s office. It would operate in a similar fashion as a bank alarm. In the event of an emergency the button would be pressed that would automatically notify the police that their presence is needed. It is believed that this could be easily and economically installed. The button would have to be in a secure location to prevent unauthorized use by non-office staff. The hiring of an afternoon security guard. Many events take place after school and the presence of a security guard from the hours of 2pm 10pm would be recommended which would also alleviate the necessity of hiring as many faculty personnel at extracurricular and sporting events. The installation of magnetic strips as recommended by the Montville Police Department and passed on to us by the Newton Police Department. This strip would allow for faster reactions to school lockdowns. The installation of proper signage in all windows to indicate to the visitors the proper protocols in gaining entry to the building. Board Office After the safety and security meeting with staff at the Board Office on 2/19/13 the following items were discussed to be implemented Memo reiterating safety procedures and phone numbers in the event that our involvement is needed in an evacuation or lockdown at any of the schools has been redistributed to Board Office staff to review and have on hand in a secure place. Google Calendar has been set up to have Board Office staff enter their vacation and other planned days off to keep track of office coverage; EXIT signs should be posted in more prominent and additional areas; An alert system will be programmed through the telephone as a means of communication to all staff in the board office at the same time. After discussion it was Page 4 of 5

5 decided that if it is determined that a potential problem exists, place call to all staff and continue talking; Front door security alarm should be reactivated and possibly reprogrammed with a different sound to signal a visitor; Back door should have door knob that opens with key and automatically locks upon closing; Sensor light at corner of garage should be installed; A railing should be installed at back entrance for additional support in inclement weather or icy conditions; Grate at bottom of back (exterior) steps should be reinforced to keep from slipping out of place when walked on; If possible, an overhang may increase safety at the back entrance as additional protection from weather (further discussion needed); A railing should be installed on the stairs leading up to the attic. Page 5 of 5

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