School security to tighten with next round of Groton changes

Groton - The school district is moving forward with additional security measures that would allow school staff to lock gymnasiums, libraries, auditoriums and cafeterias districtwide.

William Robarge, director of buildings and grounds, said Tuesday the hardware has been purchased and is being installed. The plan would install locks so teachers could secure common areas from inside, without stepping into the hallway, in case of an emergency.

The project will cost $110,000 and is part of the capital improvement program approved for this fiscal year.

The door locks represent the second phase of school security upgrades in Groton. The district began the first phase last winter after touring schools with police and discussing what was needed.

Initial upgrades included front door entry system. A lock, camera and buzzer system was installed, so that visitors could buzz the main office and ask to be let in. The system allowed the secretary in the main office to see who was at the door, confirm whether the person had an appointment and open the door remotely.

Groton also installed "panic buttons" in schools that automatically dial 911, cameras that record activity in areas such as playgrounds, and card readers that allow only authorized personnel with issued cards to move between main buildings and portable classrooms.

"I think we've made great improvements across the district, and we continue to do so," Robarge said.

In addition to these measures, the district erected fencing in areas where police deemed it necessary or where school property had been used as a shortcut for walkers, and posted signs warning of the newly installed video surveillance.

d.straszheim@theday.com

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