By Robert Connelly
More cameras and a new buzz-in system are among the new security improvements at Canfield schools, paid for with levy funds.
Superintendent Alex Geordan said the installation of more cameras is complete at the high school and middle school. The elementary schools’ cameras should be installed by the end of the month, he said.
The project cost more than $14,000 for interior cameras at the high school and more than $24,000 at the middle school. Both projects were handled by SOS Security, based in Canfield.
Geordan said the students are aware of the cameras, which run 24 hours a day with the recordings being saved.
The buzz-in doors are open while buses drop off students, but lock once class begins. If students are tardy, “they have to be buzzed in,” the superintendent said.
The buzz-in system at the high-school athletic entrance cost $3,800, and the buzz-in system for the middle school cost just under $18,000. Both were done by Ashton Sound and Communications Inc. of Ravenna.
Geordan said the district is finalizing the contract for cameras at the elementary schools. He added the elementary schools already have buzz-in systems.
“We had made a promise to the people that with the passage of the levy there would be safety upgrades,” Canfield board of education president Lee Frey said. “So we are living up to our promise.”
Geordan said though the district hasn’t had overnight break-ins in the past, the overnight recording would capture it. He also said if anything happens at a night event at the school, such as a basketball game, officials will have exactly what happened on film.
“We are very, very happy about having this piece taken care of,” Geordan said.
These are not the only upgrades to security at Canfield schools. Frey said the schools have had assemblies with high-school and middle-school students on the ALICE (alert, lockdown and barricade, inform, countermeasures and evacuate) technique to combat school intruders.
Teachers underwent training for the system in the fall, and “hopefully in another year, it will be practiced and similar to a fire drill,” Frey said.
While the cameras and buzz-in systems at the high school and middle school are completed, Geordan said the district is starting to look at the possibility of cameras on district buses. He said they are studying the effectiveness and cost of installing cameras in each bus.
Another security upgrade is fixing doors that were only lockable from the outside. Previously, in a lock-down situation teachers would have to leave the room and lock the door from the outside — which Geordan said “just doesn’t lend itself to anything positive.”
The superintendent said school officials are beginning to look into some other areas for safety and facility upgrades. He said the facilities committee, composed of representatives from each district building, central staff and board of education members, has made recommendations, and those are now in the research phase.
“They’re in the buildings each and everyday. They know what’s needed,” he said.