The Merrick Board of Education unanimously agreed on March 5 to authorize the school district to spend as much as $200,000 to implement several new security measures in the district’s three schools, based on the recommendations of two private security companies.
The three Merrick elementary schools — Birch, Chatterton and Levy-Lakeside — have already received new security enhancements since the Sandy Hook Elementary School massacre in Newtown, Conn., in December.
Now the district will move “relatively quickly,” according to Superintendent Dominick Palma, to put in place a number of additional security measures recommended by Altaris Consulting Group LLC, a security consulting firm based in Yorktown Heights, and Intralogic Solutions Inc., a security technologies company based in Massapequa.
The measures include:
• “Proximity cards,” which will be issued to building staff and work like hotel key cards, allowing the holder to electronically unlock exterior doors during automatically set periods of time.
• “Door ajar warning” systems, which will alert building staff when exterior doors are opened or closed.
• “Alert/lockdown/panic” alarms, which will resemble traditional fire alarms attached to walls and will summon the police when pulled.
• “Visitor management kiosks,” consisting of ATM-like machines into which building visitors will be required to insert their driver’s licenses, and from which visitors will receive paper ID badges imprinted with their pictures, names and permitted access to the building. The kiosks will also cross-check IDs against a list of flagged persons, including registered sex offenders.
• Improved intercom functionality at the schools’ front entrances.
• Improved video camera coverage, including the replacement of some cameras.
• Motion detectors, which are intended to prevent anyone from hiding inside a school building after hours.