Intercom, Camera Installed at Elementary and Middle Schools
SCHUYLERVILLE – Students in the Schuylerville Central School District began the school year with an added layer of security, particularly in the district’s elementary and middle schools.
After the morning bells ring, signaling the start of the school day, all doors are locked. Visitors and those who arrive after the bell must buzz to get in, and are video-recorded as they speak into an intercom. A security camera at the door will allow a school secretary to view the visitor on a screen inside the main office.
“We control who comes and goes,” said Peter Riggi, Superintendent of Buildings and Grounds. “It’s pretty cool, actually.”
The video intercom entry system, called AIPHONE, was installed at the entrance of the elementary and middle schools and is one of the many examples of how schools are boosting security as the new school year begins across the country.
The AIPHONE and security camera combination is another measure to ensure each school’s entrance is secure. Entryways at Schuylerville Central Schools are already equipped with a window security film applied to the glass doors that helps deter the glass from breaking.
“It’s not bulletproof, but it’s darn close,” said Riggi. “Its intent is to slow things down so that building occupants can lock down and call the authorities. It makes it much, much harder to get in through the entrances when the doors are locked.”
There’s no question school districts everywhere have been focused on security and crisis planning since the 1999 Columbine shootings – one of the deadliest episodes of school violence. But the 2012 December massacre at Sandy Hook Elementary School in Newtown, Conn., where a gunman killed 20 children and six educators, brought a wave of heightened security efforts.
“Security has been an ongoing concern,” said Riggi. “Over the years, we’ve taken measures like locking doors and securing entrances. Basically these last two measures are enhancements on everything we’ve been trying to do.”
Keeping students safe at school is priceless, but added security measures can be costly. Riggi credits help from New York SAFE Act and the state department of education in implementing these safety enhancements.
“The whole process is part of the New York SAFE Act and the state education department aids the expenditure,” said Riggins. “And they’ve added a 10 percent incentive on top of that to schools. They’ve made it appealing, from a financial perspective. With all of the demands on schools and expenses and money…security is an expense, but the state helps.”
While the new security enhancements at Schuylerville will take some time to get used to, the district is asking for cooperation as this video intercom entry system is implemented.
“The new system is not meant to discourage parents from visiting their child’s school,” said Dr. Ryan Sherman, Schuylerville Schools Superintendent. “It’s being put into place to ensure the security of our schools and safety of our students.”