Sandy Hook shooting prompts Tecumseh Public Schools to strengthen security

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TPS facilities manager Paul Hughes checks the monitor at Tecumseh Acres Elementary. Photo by Deane Erts.

Tecumseh elementary schools just got much more secure with the installation of high-tech identification video cameras at all main entrances that allow the school secretaries to view any person requesting to come in.

In response to the recent tragic shooting at Sandy Hook Elementary School in Connecticut and an ongoing policy of concern for student security, Tecumseh Supt. Mike McAran contacted the company that the district has been using for security issues and requested a district-wide security upgrade on December 26. The new system will be completed in all four of the elementary school buildings by the end of this week. All doors will now be locked, and visitors and parents must identify themselves and request entry. Previously, main entrance doors were not locked.

Redford Security Solutions, the company that installed the systems in the elementary schools, is currently submitting a bid for similar systems for both the middle school and the high school. The total bill for the new systems for all four elementary buildings is $8,300. “That is a very small price to pay to keep our students and staff safe,” McAran said.

Under the new system, visitors will be able to buzz the front desk at the building’s main entrance and will be visible to the building secretary. A microphone allows visitors to state their business. The surveillance camera can rotate and zoom in and out to allow the secretary to not only see the visitor requesting entrance but also anyone who may be standing in the background as well. After the person is identified, the secretary can remotely unlock the door and allow entrance.

“We are trying to be proactive in providing additional security to our school buildings,” McAran said. “We want our students and their parents to know that we are doing all we can to protect everyone in every building. These additional measures will probably make some people unhappy. Everybody likes the concept of additional security until you walk up to the building and can’t just walk in. That’s the price that we have to pay. Either you’re going to have security or you’re not. We can’t have it both ways.”

Although the new video surveillance system will not be installed in the middle and high school until the competitive quotes are received, the Redford Security Solutions company, which the district has been using for decades, has already switched out the locks in the buildings and installed more secure ones.

The elementary systems will be in operation throughout the day, but during the time that buses are unloading students at the beginning of the day and loading students at the end of the day, the schools already have people assigned to the doors to oversee the movement of students and watch for unauthorized entrance of non-students.

Paul Hughes, school district manager of facility operations and services, said that the new security system will make the schools safer and will not inconvenience visitors beyond what should be expected under the current circumstances. “People who are aware of what has been happening all over the country will understand that we are taking every precaution to keep their kids safe,” said Hughes, “so a little pause at the main entrance for identification shouldn’t bother most people. It’s for everyone’s safety. We got a great price on top-of-the-line systems, and the service was really quick. We’ve been dealing with this company for our security issues for a long time, and they have a really good track record for security.”




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