Administration Recommends Change to School Security

As part of the district’s continued review of its security procedures, administrators recommended locking the interior doors from the main vestibule into the front office at each school beginning next school year.  This change will allow for increased safety and security for students and staff, and more closely align District 34 with the practices of surrounding districts.
 
“As we continued to review several long-term health life safety projects and finalized our crisis plans, it became clear that additional measures should be made as it relates to visitor management at all of our schools,” said Interim Superintendent Griff Powell. “We appreciate being able to work closely with Glenview Police, Glenview Fire and a security consultant in order to receive their critical input to inform all changes we consider as it relates to the well-being of our community.”
 
Historically, the district has kept school building main entrance doors and the interior doors into the front office unlocked throughout the day at all eight schools. Once a visitor reaches the front office, they are run through a visitor management system called Raptor, and, upon successful completion of Raptor, the front office staff unlocks the door into the school and allows the visitor into the building.
 
After discussion with Glenview first responders, the district learned it was inconsistent with recommended security measures. It was also inconsistent with other districts that all keep their interior school doors to the front office locked. Instead, visitors must be buzzed into the offices from the interior vestibules after a confirmed reason for the visit. 
 
This method for how visitors enter school buildings is all rooted in the understanding that locking the interior door would provide another method to slow down a potential threat to school environments, Powell explained. If, for instance there was a perceived threat, main office staff could have additional time to utilize panic hardware to alert staff, students and first responders with a pre-recorded lock down message.  
 
Should this change in practice move forward, over the summer months, the district would install several cameras that would be used by the front office staff to both see and hear a visitor who would need to share the reason for their visit before they can be buzzed into the front office. Their identification would still be run through the Raptor System before they are allowed access to the school.  The cost for these new camera systems associated with door accessibility is estimated to be $80,000.  These dollars would be shifted from other security related items, which the administration found to be less beneficial at this time.
 
Prior to next school year when this change would potentially go into effect, all staff and parents can expect additional communication about this change in practice and what it will mean when entering District 34 schools.
 
A final decision will be made at the May 1 Board of Education meeting.
 
“We understand this will be a cultural shift for our community, but it is an important change to provide increased security measures to everyone in our schools,” Powell said. “We will be continually communicating with students, staff and parents leading into next school year so they are aware of the change and are prepared in order to gain access when needed.”