EDMOND, Okla. (KFOR) – Edmond Public Schools said it has received many calls about school security ahead of the first day of school next week. The district gave KFOR an inside look at how officials are securing the buildings.
District officials said it’s not as easy as just opening the school door to enter the building. Staff members have badges that allow them access.
A school visitor must buzz in from outside and explain to office staff why they have arrived. The secured doors are then unlocked by administrators.
On the other side of the door is a secured vestibule. Guests then go through another two-way intercom system. The system’s camera allows office administration to see who they are.
Every vestibule also contains a kiosk. EPS said parents can use the kiosk to check students in and out of the building. Bringing a student in late or taking them out early can all be done through the machine without leaving the secured vestibule.
If an adult arrives at the building for other reasons, the kiosk has a step-by-step system to obtain their information and print off a special visitor badge.
To obtain a badge, the visitor will scan their license or ID, take a picture with the kiosk’s camera, answer a COVID-19 questionnaire and give the reason why they’re visiting. The kiosk then prints off a badge for the visitor to stick on their clothing.
The visitor will then enter through the secured office, then exit into the general school area.
Edmond Superintendent, Dr. Angela Grunewald, said these steps are necessary.
“Now, it’s our new normal. It is just a part of how we do school,” said Dr. Grunewald.
Grunewald said each entrance has access control doors. Someone on the inside will either unlock them or staff can enter with their badges.
Plus, all windows on EPS schools will contain a shatter-proof film for an extra layer of protection.
“It’s not bullet proof, but it would slow someone down. It would take several minutes for someone to shoot through and break through one of those windows if the building was locked and they were still trying to gain access,” said the superintendent.
Meanwhile, a huge monitor is hanging up in school offices, constantly rotating security cameras.
“The secretaries and the people in the office can look up and monitor those cameras throughout the day. They don’t have to log in and pull it up on their computer,” said Dr. Grunewald.
Edmond Public Schools said it will have 12 School Resource Officers (SROs) on hand. Each one is trained to understand a child’s mind, and be a guardian, teacher or counselor.
“Officers respond to situations in their normal duties where a kid has been subjected to a traumatic event,” said Edmond Police Chief JD Younger. “They could let school administrators know, ‘Hey, Johnny and Susie may be having some issues, so if you could just keep an eye on them.’”
Grunewald said with all the improvements, there are still some areas that the district could work on, like mental health and medical aide.
“If we had an incident, whether it’s a tornado or a fire or anything, do we have people in our buildings trained to provide emergency medical care until the first responders get there?” said the superintendent. “That is one of our goals. To increase that.”
Grunewald and Younger stress parents, guardians and students to always report threats heard or seen on social media. They said every report is taken seriously, no matter who it’s from.