New Security System Installed at 27 Anoka-Hennepin Schools
The buzz of work tools filled school halls at one of the state's largest districts, not for the typical summer-time repairs but for a $1 million project to improve security at 27 buildings.
The Anoka Hennepin School District swapped out the old clipboard sign-in sheets parents recognize, for a new visitor tracking system at all of its 24 elementary schools, two early learning centers and a special education center.
Any visitor enters through a vestibule. Once through the first set of doors, they press an intercom button.
In the office, a secretary sees the visitor on video and asks them to swipe their driver's license or state ID. The secretary reviews a computer data base.
If there's a problem, the system signals an alert. It works on a database that the district creates. It can search for court orders or trespass notices.
If there is a problem, the visitor is not allowed in. If everything checks out, a badge is printed.
The system is not for the busy start or end of the day. Doors will be open and staff will be on hand for bus arrivals and departures.
Parents will need to be ready to use the system, when they pick up a student for a dentist appointment, for example.
The security changes also included redesigning the entryways of four schools.
The school board voted to reallocate $1 million in capitol funds to pay for the project. The decision was made after the shooting at Sandy Hook Elementary in Newport, Connecticut in Dec. 2012.
Another change affects the parents of the 2000 kids in district's Adventures Plus daycare program. They used to be able to access the school through open doors from 6:30 a.m. to 6:30 p.m. Now they will be issued a key fob.
They are programmable to time of day and day of week so the school can control who has access and when. Parents must put down a $5 deposit which they can get back if they leave the program.