Western Row Elementary School improves security

buzz in system

In the wake of recent school shootings, there is no such thing as too safe, according to Western Row Elementary School principal Eric Messer.

Western Row Elementary is implementing new security equipment and procedures to deter any possible dangerous threats. New changes include a buzz-in system at the front entrance.

“Anyone who comes here will have to buzz into the building,” Messer said. “That creates a heightened awareness and a heightened security system.”

Visitors will have to present a driver’s license or ID to be buzzed into the building, where they will then get a visitors pass.

“I’ve never had to show my ID before,” said Lori Phillips, mother of third grader Nicholas Phillips. “So maybe [the buzz-in system] will help make [Western Row] a little more secure.”

Western Row had already established security measures in the past, such as always locking doors and only being able to access locked doors through staff electronic key cards. However, the school is always striving to improve, according to Messer.

“Any time you make an improvement for safety, it’s necessary,” Messer said.

Other changes include restricting class parties and the elimination of KISS day, an occasion for elementary students to bring a family member or friend into the classroom.

“You are bringing in probably four or five hundred people from the outside,” Messer said. “There’s no way for me to check that. That just becomes a security nightmare.”

According to the Mason Ohio Schools website, the buzz-in system costs $35,400 out of a fund for the Mason School District’s improvement.

“Anything you’re doing to improve safety, it’s money well spent,” Messer said.

After the school shooting in Newtown, Connecticut, the country was in a panic, especially parents of young children.

“I was nervous and scared [after the Newtown shooting],” Phillips said. “You hope that’s not going to happen where your child goes to school.”

The new procedures and equipment being implemented at Western Row, however, gives Phillips a better peace of mind.

“I’m glad to hear that they’re trying to do something to make [Western Row] more secure. That makes me a little more relieved,” Phillips said. “Anything they can do to secure the school– the more they can do the better.”

Between the parents and the staff, they’re all in agreement that safety is the most important concern for their children, according to Messer and Phillips.

“My number one job is my kids’ safety and my staff’s safety,” Messer said.

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