California School Board Considers Electronic Locks

California School Board Considers Electronic Locks

In March, Rancho Santa Fe School District limited access to entrance points on campus and formed a Safety Advisory Committee of parents, teachers, classified staff, administrators, board member Sarah Neal, and RSF Community Center Director Linda Durket.

The Rancho Santa Fe School District in Rancho Santa Fe, Calif., conducted a hazard and vulnerability assessment over the summer to evaluate campus safety and security. The district is now considering implementing an access control system with electronic locks and ID badge card readers, as well as an updated safety plan and emergency response training for staff, according to Chief Operating Officer Brad Johnson.

Concerns about campus safety have been elevated since the Feb. 14 shooting at Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School in Parkland, Fla. In March, Rancho Santa Fe School District limited access to entrance points on campus and formed a Safety Advisory Committee of parents, teachers, classified staff, administrators, board member Sarah Neal, and RSF Community Center Director Linda Durket.

Among other action items, the committee recommended hiring a safety consultant. The board hired School Safety Operations in May, and the company performed the hazard and vulnerability assessment during the summer.

School Safety Operations founder Jeff Kaye said he takes a practical approach to safety management on campuses. He said staff needs to be trained and prepared to respond to any hazards or emergencies, particularly realistic threats like earthquakes or wildfires.

“Many school districts focus entirely too much on the active assailant and not enough on realistic threats,” Kaye said.

Among other action items, Kaye recommended improved signage to help emergency responders, installation of an access control system and additional on-campus video surveillance, better security for the front office, use of the Rancho Santa Fe Patrol during large school events, and further emergency response training for staff.

Kaye also emphasized the importance of student engagement and promoting a healthy and positive campus culture. When trying to prevent incidents on campus, Kaye said, some of the most effective changes are “proactive programs to identify at-risk behavior and then get them some help.”

According to Johnson, the Safety Committee is expected to meet four more times this year to finalize the emergency operations plan and work on the updated school safety plan. The board plans to discuss the access control system, including the estimated costs, at the October or November meeting.

About the Author

Jessica Davis is the Associate Content Editor for 1105 Media.

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