Increased Security measures have gone into effect at Seaholm.
According to Principal Dee Lancaster, Guardian Alarm now has two unarmed security guards at the main entrance and the community service entrance. Two hall monitors and parking lot attendant Dale Downen also time monitoring the hallways.
All doors, with the exception of the front door, are locked after 7:30 a.m., preventing people from entering the school without first being identified by a staff member.
Teachers will soon receive access cards to open locked exterior doors.
Additional security measures will be announced at the February 26 board meeting.
According to Lancaster, the discussion will be focused around implementing a visual recognition system in all Birmingham schools.
Lancaster said the system is already present at Pierce Elementary School and cost $11,000 to install.
Guardian Security Officer Doris Hicks, who monitors the front door, said her job is to monitor who is coming in the building.
“I stand outside until 7:30, I come in and lock the door at about 7:35,” Hicks said, “when people come to the door I ask them who they are and why they are here.”
Hicks said if she encountered a person who didn’t appear to belong in the building she would contact an administrator in the main office.
Lancaster said the Guardian Alarm personal serve a dual purpose- slowing an attack and putting minds at ease.
While Lancaster believes that they do provide an extra level of security, she said that entirely preventing an attack is impossible.
“I don’t think anything could prevent an attack, but [the officers] could slow it down,” Lancaster said.
According to Lancaster, the new measures are also in place to add a sense of security to the school environment.
“Part of it is just the feeling of security,” Lancaster said.
Freshman Kayla Lang said she doesn’t feel new security measures would be sufficient to prevent harm to the school.
“I don’t think that they could actually prevent anything from happening,” Land said.
Junior Noah Gaber believes the new security measures have not had a positive or negative effect on the school community.
“I really don’t notice the changes,” Gaber said. “There hasn’t been any type of effect.”
Superintendant Daniel Nerad said increasing security, so that parents and children feel safe coming to school is an essential part of a school’s duty.
“When parents send their kids to school they should be worrying about whether they are learning and developing well as human beings not about whether they are coming home safe, and that is what America has created here,” Nerad said during a February 5 address to the school board.
Nerad said now is a key time for the district to take action in the interest of the good of the community.
“I believe that our society and our government need to act now to avoid any further tragedies like we have witnessed over the past many years, there needs to be consorted action to change the situation,” Nerad said.
After hearing of all the increased security measures, some parents feel that the district has not taken the right type of action.
“Does this plan really protect the students, or is this a knee jerk reaction to something horrible that happened and are we turning the schools in the TSA,” a Birmingham parent, David Bloom, said at a February 5 board meeting. “I don’t think anyone here enjoys going to the airport and being subjected to what’s going on.”
Bloom said that the changes create a negative atmosphere.
“To turn our schools into a prison, that’s not why I came to Birmingham,” Bloom said.