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District buildings get security upgrades

on August 31, 2016

photo of a person pressing a door buzzer at school entranceThough instances of threatening behavior and breaches of security are rare, the Warwick Valley Central School District has proactively taken the initiative to improve security measures at all school buildings. Improved security at main entrances has been a concern over the past few years, and one the district takes very seriously. Recent improvements have included the current locked main doors that require visitors to buzz in, but there is more that can be done to further ensure the security of our students and staff.

“No one wants our public schools to become unwelcoming, closed-off places,” said Superintendent Dr. David Leach. “The challenge is to balance safety improvements and the preservation of a school’s character – to remain welcoming to the community while using common-sense about safety.”

Airlock double-door entryways will be installed at Park Avenue and the Middle School, where visitors will enter one set of doors, check in with a school “Greeter”, and then be buzzed in through a second set of doors. (Sanfordville’s interior doors off the main entrance are always locked, and the High School has one entrance with ample security in place.)
New security doors will also be installed at the Dorothy C. Wilson Education Center.

The “Raptor System” is already in place at the Middle School and the High School, and will be put in place at Park Avenue and Sanfordville Elementary Schools. The Raptor System allows school building personnel to run security checks on visitors by checking IDs against sex offender databases, and issues name badges to guests.

Greeters will also be back at the elementary schools, as they are at the Middle and High Schools. Warwick police officers already conduct daily building walk-throughs.

District-wide enhancements will include:

  • New digital radios
  • More high-resolution cameras
  • More responsibility for the School Resource Officer – including daily walk-throughs of all buildings

Security enhancements will be ongoing before and during the 2016-17 school year. Once all the new measures are in place, visitors can expect to check-in at the entrance to a building before entering a second set of locked doors, and/or having their IDs screened. The Greeter will be responsible for unlocking interior doors for visitors after the check-in process is complete. Importantly, parents and guardians will no longer be able to enter the buildings without checking in, even during the morning drop-off and afternoon pick-up times. We realize this may be a change in routine for some families, particularly those at the elementary level.

As the security enhancements progress, more details about the options available to parents and guardians for seeing their children off in the mornings and picking them up in the afternoons will be provided. In the meantime, we wanted to let you know about the changes that are coming. We appreciate your support and cooperation.

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