Tahlequah Daily Press

September 5, 2013

TPS adds cameras at school entrances

By SEAN ROWLEY
Staff Writer

TAHLEQUAH — srowley@tahlequahdailypress.com

To create a safe learning environment for students, the Tahlequah Public Schools district employs a number of security measures to ensure access to buildings is monitored.

Memos summarizing the procedures will be given to students to take home. The message is also featured on the home page of tahlequahschools.org.

“Response from parents has been positive,” said Linda Wofford, office manager at Sequoyah Elementary School. “They seem to like these steps that are taken to keep their children safe. I haven’t heard them complain about any inconvenience.”

Exterior doors to schools are locked during the day and during Boys & Girls Club. Those wishing to enter the building must ring a doorbell and wait for help.Office personnel can see visitors through security cameras and unlock doors from the main office. All visitors must give their names and reasons for visiting. Those not recognized by office staff must present a photo ID before entering a building.

Lisa Presley, TPS superintendent, said the security procedures have worked well, but adjustments may need to be made at the high school.

“It has been most complicated there,” Presley said. “There is just so much more traffic in and out of the high school. The students also need the freedom to move around the campus. We may need to make changes, but the safety of the students will always be our top priority.”   

The cameras are a new addition to the security system.

“Last year, I was running to each door to see who wanted in,” Wofford said. “Now I can see them from my desk. We have cameras at each door, and the resolution allows me to see any ID clearly.”

The doorbell and camera are contained within a metal apparatus on a wall near each door.

“It also contains a card reader so our teachers can scan their IDs and enter the building without waiting for a clearance,” said Tanya Jones, principal at Sequoyah Elementary.

Parents wanting to walk their children to class, eat breakfast in the cafeteria or visit with staff must sign in and receive a visitor pass. Each site has a designated area for early morning sign-in. Those visiting after 8:10 a.m. must sign in and receive a pass from the office.

Presley said the district will implement further safety measures.

“We plan to add security cameras, and we are always updating the old ones,” she said.

“We recently purchased a new radio system that will facilitate communication between administrators, resource officers, teachers on recess. The schools will be able to communicate directly with transportation. We are also looking at additional fencing at the high school and middle school.”

Check it out

Those with questions or concerns about the security procedures and protocols may call the TPS site they plan to visit. Respective telephone numbers are available at www.tahlequahschools.org/contact.