High school's new security booth is up and running

A new security booth at the front entrance of Wilton High School is up and running, according to Principal Robert O’Donnell’s March 19 letter to the school community.
The $53,300 security booth was built by Mercer Builders LLC and brought online Monday, March 23.
“We’re trying to do anything we can to ensure the health and safety of our students and staff,” Mr. O’Donnell told The Bulletin in January. “This is yet another measure that we feel will help achieve that goal.”
The security booth will offer “enhanced security,” John Murphy, district custodial supervisor, told The Bulletin in January.
Rather than screening people once they enter the school, he said, all visitors are now required to be buzzed in by the booth’s operator after showing proper identification and receiving a visitor’s badge.

Although the booth’s additional security features are “confidential,” Mr. Murphy said, “the enclosure will be ‘hardened’ against most threats.”
Mr. O’Donnell told The Bulletin the goal is to “lock down the front entranceway,” which requires a change in students’ traffic patterns.
“Our staff will work with students to change their traffic patterns, routing them onto the second floor bridge instead of crossing the street outside in front of the school,” Mr. O’Donnell wrote in his letter. “This will ensure that the front doors remain securely locked as often as possible.”
Mr. O’Donnell said he realizes “these measures will require some adjustments from members of the school community” but he hopes the addition of the booth to the school’s security plan “provides everyone in the school community with an increased sense of safety and peace of mind.”

Staffing changes

In an effort to “leverage technology and other alternative security measures to try to find efficiencies,” Mr. O’Donnell told the Board of Education during its Jan. 8 meeting, Wilton High School plans to eliminate two of its six campus supervisors next school year.
“We’re cutting two campus supervisors with the idea that we have the increased supervision there [at the security booth],” he explained to the board.
By cutting two supervisor positions and installing the booth, Mr. O’Donnell said, he believes the school will increase its security while also “taking a careful look at how we’re deploying the staff.”
In January, Mr. O’Donnell said the school was also working with a company to look at the possibility of outsourcing campus supervision.
“There may be a way, through that measure, to get highly qualified security people on-site,” he said.
“We are very cognizant of the fact that … we need people who want to work with adolescents, can work with adolescents and will carry out the mission of the high school and [its] security mission in a supportive way.”

Other security

In addition to the school’s new security booth and campus supervisors, Wilton High School is equipped with security cameras that “currently cover the perimeter of the building, all entrance doors and most hallways and common areas,” according to Wilton High School’s 2014-15 student handbook.
The cameras run 24 hours a day and “will be used, when necessary, to ensure accurate resolution of student disciplinary matters,” according to the handbook.