Wilton High School gets a security booth

In an effort to evoke more safety during the school day, a $53,300 security booth is scheduled to soon be installed at the front of Wilton High School.

“Any day now, we’re scheduled to put in the new security booth at the front of the high school — right at the beginning of the vestibule area — and, essentially, lock down the front entranceway,” said Principal Robert O’Donnell.

“We’re trying to do anything we can to ensure the health and safety of our students and staff, and this is yet another measure that we feel will help achieve that goal.”

The school district has hired Mercer Builders, LLCto build the security booth, which district custodial supervisor John Murphy said is expected to take three to four weeks to complete.

Rather than screening people once they enter the school, Mr. Murphy said, the security booth will offer “enhanced security by screening people before they enter the building.”

Although the booth’s additional security features are “confidential,” he said, “the enclosure will be ‘hardened’ against most threats.”


Mr. O’Donnell said the new security booth will require a “cultural shift” in the school’s security processes.

“One of the things that we’re looking at and will have to address is having to reroute all of the students over the bridge between the D Wing and the B Wing of the school,” he said.

“We’ve also been looking at the implication the booth will have on reception, with people coming into the school, since the booth will have more of a security feature to it.”

Although the current plan is to have the person currently manning the school’s check-in reception desk work at the security booth, Mr. O’Donnell said, “we’re also debating, longer term, what the best approach to this would be in terms of security.”

Superintendent Kevin Smith’s $79,956,024 proposed budget for fiscal year 2016 outlines several staffing changes, including the elimination of two of the high school’s six campus supervisors as a result of the school’s security 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.

“We’re cutting two campus supervisors with the idea that we have the increased supervision there [at the security booth], and that with four campus supervisors, we can redeploy them by floors, by bus duty and by the duties that they fulfill without compromising student health and safety,” Mr. O’Donnell 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.”

Mr. O’Donnell said the school is 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 told the education board.

“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.”