New security systems used for first day back to school
Published Tuesday, September 3, 2013 5:00PM EDT
Some Windsor parents may have experienced a slightly less welcoming first day of school, with doors locked when they arrived.
But it’s part of the Safe Welcome Program to enhance safety. Soon all elementary schools across the province will see it implemented. Most parents are applauding the move.
The camera intercom systems are being used across the province along with swipe cards for school staff.
"It will give us an opportunity to monitor a little more closely, the people coming into building," says Steven Bellaire, principal at St. James Catholic Elementary School.
The Ontario government made the $10-million investment shortly after the shootings at Sandy Hook Elementary School in Newtown, Connecticut on Dec. 14, 2012.
St. James is the first local catholic school to launch the program, which places a lot more responsibility on school secretaries to monitor who is at the door.
“It will be nice when we're all on the same page and people are used to it," says school secretary Mary Bowyer.
Windsor Essex Catholic District School Board officials expect most of the work to be complete before the end of the month.
“The vast majority of them are almost ready to go,” says Gary Mckenzie, WECDSB manager of maintenance and risk assessment. “We've had a few minor setbacks with some of the older buildings."
Each school board received about $3,200 per school for the new systems.
It will also require some education for students to understand the difference between opening the door to be polite and keeping the school safe.
The public board says about eight of its schools already had the system installed before the announcement. It expects to have the rest complete by Thanksgiving.