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Anthony Lock & Safe

Anthony Lock & Safe

The Greece Central School District is installing a buzzer entry system at all of its schools. A notice on the district website says:

In December, following the tragedy in Newtown, CT, Superintendent Barbara Deane-Williams reaffirmed the Greece Central School District’s commitment to ensuring the safety and well-being of our students. As part of that commitment, she called for the installation of new entry buzzer systems at every district school.

Installation began this week and will continue throughout the month. Once the systems are operational, visitors may be required to ring the buzzer upon arrival. School staff members will be able to monitor entry doors via camera and intercom and will ask guests their name and the nature of their visit.

Somehow, the Greece Central School District managed to get by for the last 85 years without buzzing people in. We need to ask ourselves if these kinds of safety measures actually make us safer or just make us feel better. The statistical odds of a child dying in a school shooting are at least 1 in 1 million. The odds of being killed in a car accident this year are about 1 in 6,500. I have a feeling many of us worry a lot more about school shootings than driving little Suzy to school.

Furthermore, linking the installation of a new buzzer system to Newtown is fundamentally flawed, since the gunman in that tragedy forced his way into the building.

As for sign-in procedures, I don’t understand their role in safety. I’m assuming a sign-in list is supposed to help authorities identify a visitor who goes nuts. If a person is going to shoot up a school, will he really pause to sign his name first?

Greece is far from alone in beefing up security since Newtown. Many schools already had buzzers. These measures don’t hurt anyone, although they do cost money and could instill adult paranoia in kids. But it’s important to remember schools are now – and always have been – among the safest places for children.

6 Responses to Bzzzzzzzzz

  1. March 7, 2013 at 5:04 pm Phil Hurwitz responds:

    What the Greece School District is doing is called “hardening the target.” But your sentiment is understandable. Could there come a time when going to the mall is like going to the airport.

  2. Just my thoughts….all good points. I, for one, totally agree.

  3. March 7, 2013 at 10:09 pm lellingw responds:

    A buzzer system is something pretty common. Most of the city schools have them. People feel they have to do something to take things under control. I think this one is Ok.

  4. March 8, 2013 at 9:55 am Ginny Maier responds:

    I think the sign in procedures are less about the rare “shooter in the building” scenario and more about the much more likely estranged parent/grandparent wrongly takes a child because of dissatisfaction with a custody situation. This is more common that a lot of people realize — thousands per year.

  5. Also having sign-ins are for the security of the person as well as the school community. If there’s an emergency while you’re visiting, it helps first responders and administrators to know who’s in the building aside from the usual students and staff.

  6. March 14, 2013 at 10:34 am damian c responds:

    the buzzer system does little to enhance security. procedures will be ignored shortly after they are implemented, especially during times of high traffic and activity. if anything, it exasperates parents and adds to the feeling of our schools being little prisons for our children. having a “lobby” area or a desk at the point of entry, forcing each visitor to speak to someone every time they enter the building would not only be effective but less the oppressive feeling buzzers create. the problems occur not because trouble makers can get into the school, but because there is no one there when they walk into the building.

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