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Rancho Santa Fe School District approves $424,000 system to automatically lock class doors

Posted at 6:12 PM, Mar 14, 2019
and last updated 2019-03-14 21:21:46-04

SAN DIEGO (KGTV) - A North County school district is fighting off potential threats with cutting-edge technology.

On Thursday the school board approved plans to install an electronic access control system on its campus by the 2019-2020 school year.

Funding for the $424,000 project will come out of the district's capital facilities fund.

The system will provide global lockdown capability through panic buttons, card readers, computer, or mobile device.

LED lights will notify teachers if their classroom door is locked, they can also lock them manually or with a key card. Teachers can also unlock the doors from the inside if they need to let a student in.

Jeff Kaye, President and CEO of School Safety Operations, assesses how secure schools are and offers recommendations.

He commended Rancho Santa Fe for a high baseline for emergency preparedness, but says it can always be improved.

“What we see with locks at all schools is the inability to lock a door from inside of classroom without the use of keys. It makes sense because most of these schools were designed before we had this type of threat. Locks were meant to secure the school after school, not to keep something bad out during school," said Kaye.

Kaye says during the Parkland, Florida shooting someone was killed opening the door to try and secure the classroom. He recommends all schools invest in electronic locks in some capacity.

“Money is a tough commodity in education safety, especially in California. So when we have someone trying to sell Kevlar doors or Kevlar safe rooms or Kevlar backpacks and the school doesn't have doors that can lock, we say it's like building your swimming pool before building your house," said Kaye.

He says there are more affordable options for larger school districts.

“That’s where we need to go in education safety, proactive rather than reactive," Kaye.

The International School Safety Institute Conference will be held in San Diego at the end of September.