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Schools seek new $100K security program

MARBLEHEAD-The School Committee will ask Town Meeting for $98,700 for a four-part school security program May 5.The request was unanimously recommended by the Security Subcommittee Thursday night and unanimously endorsed by the School Committee.Fire Capt. Jason Gilliland, who chairs the committee, said they recommended installing an electronic door-locking system at the main entrance to each school, repair or replacement of door locks on classrooms and offices in each school, installing safety glass in each classroom door and purchase of a photo ID machine.The door-locking system allows the school staff to control entrance to the building, the lock repairs allow teachers to lock down their classrooms if there is an incident, the safety glass prevents classroom break-ins and the photo IDs will identify school employees. Gilliland said all four projects should be done simultaneously.The subcommittee report called these improvements “reasonable in their cost and critical in their importance.”?We have a moral and legal obligation to provide a safe environment for our students, staff and visitors,” the report stated. “Without these security upgrades our schools will continue to be at risk.”School Committee member Jonathan Lederman, who suggested forming the subcommittee, praised committee members for their hard work.At the request of Superintendent of Schools Paul Dulac, Police Lt. Matt Freeman told the committee about a special project this year: police and fire personnel have paid random visits to the schools, testing to see if back doors were locked.?Once a month a police officer in plainclothes would try to penetrate the school, to see how far they could get and what they could do while they were there,” Freeman said.The officers and firefighters would make reports to Dulac, who would relay the information to the school principals.?I?m pleased to report that on their latest check they were not able to access a single school,” Freeman said. “It took a lot of work by the staff to do this.”

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