School locks doors to secure campus

News

Over the past couple of weeks, the Buildings and Grounds Department has enforced various security changes around KO to further ensure the safety of students, teachers, and faculty.

Dean of Students William Gilyard said that after the Parkland shooting many teachers and parents were concerned. Conversation began regarding how we are keeping our students and adults safe on campus.

In addition, the West Hartford Police Department came to KO to complete a site assessment of the campus. They advised the school to restrict some entrances and have the staff go through some training to understand how to handle different types of emergency situations.

Director of Facilities Larry Marciano said that the the Buildings and Grounds Department have closed down 22 entrances, going from 32 open doors down to 10.
Mr. Gilyard said that locking doors was an important first step. “It was more about how can we funnel traffic to areas where people can see,” he said.

Mr. Marciano said that it is imperative that students are protected as he proposed potential transitions to tighter security on campus. KO has already closed entrances around the school to control the flow of traffic to a safer area.

Mr. Marciano mentioned the possibility of locking all doors on campus in the future and giving every student and faculty member a key card to get into buildings. “This will make students and staff safer,” he said.

Mr. Marciano also talked about the potential of installing cameras at all the main entrances of the school and having a buzz camera entry system for visitors.

For even tighter security, Mr. Marciano said that he hopes to hire a full-time security guard and possibly install more cameras to cover 30 different focal points around the outdoor parts of campus.

Finally, the Buildings and Grounds team is thinking about updating and enhancing the outdoor PA system.“It is unfortunate that the campus can’t be as open as it used to be,” Mr. Marciano said in light of recent school shootings.

Director for Finance & Operations Colleen Woerlen said that these changes need to be made. “It is [in] the interest of our community, so we can limit access of people getting into buildings who are not supposed to,” she said. “We are in the early stages, but one of our top priorities is safety around campus.”

Students and teachers said they have mixed feelings about the security changes at KO. Sophomore Jenna Blocher said that she has varying opinions regarding security getting stricter. “I believe that KO’s core values are supporting this safety regulation, although I feel that we must obtain key cards in order to make it worth while because as of now, it is just an inconvenience.”

Junior Amy Mistri agreed that the key cards will be the best of both worlds. “I’m glad the school is taking steps for the community’s safety; it is slightly inconvenient, but I understand the goal is for the common good,” she said.

Freshman Christina Lu said that it is really difficult for her to navigate around campus with the new changes. “I feel like it is inconvenient for us, especially when it was snowing,” she said.

Mr. Gilyard said that we must all adapt to this change in a positive manner. “It is inconvenient for everyone,” he said,“but the question is does the inconvenience outweigh the purpose in terms of keeping us safe.”

Spanish teacher Brenda Semmelrock agreed that proper security is the most important thing. “I think we have to follow the protocol of what other schools are doing,” she said.

Senior Humza Rashid said that locking the doors was a good move. “I think it is much better and keeps the community together at the same time; it’s for the best.”

Librarian Nancy Solomon agreed that these safety regulations are for the greater good of the school. “It is a sad commentary of what has become of our society; I am glad we are doing something for the safety of students and adults,” she said.

Amy said that given recent events, she was concerned, but knowing that steps are being taken, she doesn’t have to worry. “I feel safe, it is a small campus and I know the authorities are nearby,” she said.

Christina said that she feels it was a good idea to put some limitations on the open campus concept because it was unsafe how anybody was able to walk onto campus at anytime.

Mr. Gilyard said that he is glad that the school has a plan and is enforcing it to keep KO students and faculty safe. “It’s about really having a better understanding on who’s on campus and when,” he said.

Mrs. Solomon said that we cannot let the threat of being harmed stop us from living our lives.