Marjory Stoneman Douglas to Open for New School Year with Security Improvements

Marjory Stoneman Douglas to Open for New School Year with Security Improvements

MSD High School will be patrolled by 18 security officials in the upcoming school year.

All eyes have been on Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School following the tragic shooting that ended the lives of 17 students and teachers on Feb. 14. In the time since the shooting, the school district has been transparent with security improvements for the high school. This week, they outlined the security measures students, faculty and teachers can expect to see as they come back to school for the 2018-2019 year.

One of the most noticeable differences will be the increased presence of security officers on campus. Three school police officers provided by the city and Broward Sheriff's Office will patrol the campus along with 15 campus monitors and security specialists. These officials will monitor traffic to ensure only students with ID are entering the campus. Teachers will also have new IDs they will need to swipe to enter the campus' main access points.

Also new this year is a buzzer to enter the main office, extra security cameras, new fences and gates and classroom doors that lock automatically but allow teachers and students to exit without restriction.

MSD now has a single point of entry during the day at the main office, where the new buzzer will allow officer personnel to take a look at visitors before they enter. During student arrival and dismissal, there will be three entry points: the bus loop, the carpool line and the student parking lot. The student lot will have security attendant at the gate and checking student IDs.

The 1200 building, where the shooting took place, now has a 12-foot permanent fence. Nearby, 34 portables have been installed to replace the classrooms, paid for with $26 million offered by the state after the massacre. The money will also be used to destroy the 1200 building and build a replacement on another location of the campus. A memorial to the deceased students and staff will be constructed in the original place of the building. 

The new security for MSD has not come without some hiccups. Last week the school district announced it had temporarily abandoned its metal detector plan for the high school, which had been set to be ready for the school's first day. Superintendent Robert Runcie said there were too many obstacles, including staffing and expected long lines. The school board is scheduled to discuss the revival of the metal-detector program this week.

The school district has also scrapped the use of clear backpacks for students and hiring a retired Secret Service agent to review the actions of administrators and then suspending that investigation.

About the Author

Sydny Shepard is the Executive Editor of Campus Security & Life Safety.

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