Weston Schools Accelerate Some Security Upgrades
Weston Public Schools Superintendent Cheryl Maloney said some security changes were planned, but their implementation was affected by the tragedy in Newtown, Conn.
Weston Public Schools responded quickly following the shooting tragedy at Sandy Hook Elementary in Connecticut, implementing immediate changes to security at the schools and now looking at a long-term plan.
In an announcement last week, Weston Superintendent Cheryl Maloney outlined several security features that will remain in place at Weston's schools and addressed a few plans for the future.
Perhaps the biggest change in terms of day-to-day operations is that school doors will remain locked during the school day -- a change implemented the Monday after the shootings in Newtown, Conn., and continued ever since. Maloney's announcement indicated that intercom systems at the schools are being installed and the hope is to have them activated within a month.
Part of the difficulty with locking the doors, however, is that teachers and staff don't have keys, Maloney told Patch. The goal is to alleviate that complication with a card swipe system.
“Within the past year or two, we had planned to switch over to the card swipe system instead of keys," Maloney said, explaining that the Newtown shootings had expedited that process. "With [the card swipe], would be a camera."
Cameras were added previously at the Weston High School science wing and are planned for the new Field School.
“The first thing were looking at is just cameras at the doors, the key swipes and lobbies," Maloney said.
She went on to commend Weston's teachers and staff, whom she said have been "phenomenally professional" throughout this period of security changes, some of which Maloney acknowledged are not convenient.
The extent to which new security features are implemented this budget year will be dependent on available funds, Maloney explained. She added that implementing the items that can't be put off could require the system to possibly cut back in another area.
In the budget for Fiscal Year 2014, she continued, a small amount of money has been requested for school security elements, though the manner in which that money will be spent has not yet been determined.
One element that the system plans to pursue is hiring a security expert to visit each school and outline possible security recommendations.
"We will review these recommendations and draft a plan, which will then be shared with all members of the school community for their input," Maloney wrote in her announcement. "The goal will be to then finalize a budget and seek funding from the Town."
Maloney said that schools will also participate in safety drills throughout the next couple of months. Additionally, administrators and teacher leaders will also be trained in federally approved emergency protocols.