Kingsland Elementary School's new security camera allows office staff to determine whether or not to admit a person to the building.  Kingsland Superintendent John McDonald demonstrates how the camera works.
Kingsland Elementary School's new security camera allows office staff to determine whether or not to admit a person to the building. Kingsland Superintendent John McDonald demonstrates how the camera works.
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The start of school at Kingsland debuted a new security system that uses cameras and/or a buzzer to allow visitors into the buildings.

"When I come to the elementary school door, I have to push a button and stand here in front of the camera, and Jill can look at her screen and let me in if she knows who I am," said Kingsland Superintendent John McDonald, standing outside Kingsland Elementary School's main entrance. In this demonstration, he was awaiting admission to the building by Kingsland Elementary School secretary Jill Ramaker, who can now determine before a person enters exactly who would like to come into the school and whether they're a welcome presence.

"Once the school day starts, the building will be locked and people will have to be identified and let into the school to gain access," the superintendent stated, noting why, in addition to installing a security camera outside the elementary office entrance, the office was also re-platted to direct visitors toward the secretary's desk.

"In previous years, the public was able to access the office, but the secretary's desk was not in the ideal place for meeting and greeting because people would come into the building, and if the secretary was busy, they'd just go right past," said McDonald, "so we decided that we needed to redesign the office to increase efficiency for the secretary and make it friendlier to the public when they enter the building while increasing safety and security."

Ramaker and her high school and middle school office colleagues may have control of who enters the building, but at the high school and middle school, the office staff can see who's approaching the school entrance and therefore have need only of a buzzer to admit visitors.

"With the proximity and way people enter the building at the elementary, we can't identify them without a camera, but at the high school and middle school, there's a buzzer because the staff can see who's coming," explained McDonald. "Visitors are asked to sign in when they enter the office, and when they leave, to sign out. We encourage them, as they come in one office but need to visit another end of the high school and elementary building, to identify themselves in the office of the building they're actually in, so if they need access to the elementary, we ask that they please come in through the elementary office. Sometimes parking will be a little difficult or inconvenient, but that increase in security is worth the efforts.

"Throughout the state, we're also seeing an increase...many schools are increasing their safety and security efforts. Although no building is foolproof to enter and exit, we can take measures to increase safety and security at all of our buildings, and we'd like the residents of the district to know of the changes. We ask for their understanding," said McDonald. "We know it seems a little inconvenient, but we'd like to remind them that the safety of the students is increased."