Swampscott Superintendent of Schools Pamela Angelakis. (Owen O'Rourke)
Local Government and Politics, News

Security upgrades planned for Swampscott Public Schools

SWAMPSCOTT — Security upgrades are being implemented at Swampscott Public Schools.

In the past school year, a verbal protocol was implemented at the town's three elementary schools, Clarke, Hadley, and Stanley, for anyone entering the building, according to Superintendent Pamela Angelakis.

If a person or parent ringing the bell is not recognized, staff should ask that person to state his or her name and the reason for entering the school. For deliveries, the person should be asked what company he or she works for and who the delivery is for. Identification should also be provided.

All doors are locked in the morning at the town's schools and early morning staff must let teachers into the building. In addition, a lobby guard and security person are stationed at both Swampscott Middle School and Swampscott High School during school hours.

Angelakis said an area the district needs to improve on is at the middle and high schools after the school day ends, as both buildings are used for sports and events. She said she's become increasingly concerned with security after school hours.

Beginning next school year, she said the district will be hiring additional security for the middle school from 2 to 5 p.m. and at the high school from 2 to 10 p.m.

"For years, I have struggled with the idea that our middle and high schools become open community buildings after school hours," Angelakis said. "It is my hope that by hiring additional front desk staff to buzz people through one door will begin to help us address this issue."

In May, Town Meeting approved $45,000 for the district to purchase and install security cameras and other related infrastructure at the schools, which the superintendent said is part of the security upgrades.

"Since the day I became superintendent, the safety and security of our students has always been my No. 1 priority," Angelakis said. "For the last several years, we have been repairing and/or replacing existing security cameras within the district, adding additional cameras and upgrading the infrastructure with servers and DVRs. The money approved at Town Meeting will allow us to continue with this project."

Although she said there haven't been security issues at the schools in the past, the superintendent said it was important to remain proactive.

"We knew from the outset that it would take years to achieve some of what we have accomplished," Angelakis said. "We want to continue to do all that we can to keep our students and citizens as safe as we possibly can."

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