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The Journal Gazette

Tuesday, June 12, 2018 1:00 am

No metal detectors for FWCS

District to update security measures

ASHLEY SLOBODA | The Journal Gazette

Those wanting Fort Wayne Community Schools to equip buildings with metal detectors must wait.

Such devices were not included in a $752,549 security purchase the school board unanimously approved Monday from Tyco Integrated Security.

Instead, the equipment will replace existing intrusion detection and access control security systems at all district facilities – not just schools.

While the current equipment communicates via analog telephone lines, the new system will use the district's Internet Protocol network with cellular backup, allowing faster and more reliable communication.

Once the project is complete – installation should take a year – FWCS should have improved integration between the access control, intrusion detection and surveillance camera systems.

“This is a significant step up for us,” said Steve Corona, board vice president.

Dottie Davis, the security director, agreed. With the upgrade, she said, personnel using their badge to enter a building will be photographed, allowing officials to confirm the identities.

The system will do more than meet current needs, Davis said.

“We'll actually be able to grow into the system as well,” she said.

FWCS also is buying a five-year service maintenance plan that costs about $38,800 annually and a nearly $40,000 annual monitoring fee for a burglar alarm system, Davis said.

The board considered the security item less than three weeks after the shooting at Noblesville West Middle School, which injured a student and teacher. The incident wasn't mentioned, but school violence seemed to be on board member Glenna Jehl's mind.

“Will this system prevent people from walking into the school carrying weapons?” Jehl asked.

It won't, Davis said, but added the district continues to research new technology.

“Is there any capability for metal detection at any of our schools' entrances, or do we have plans for any such devices?” Jehl asked.

FWCS doesn't have plans for that equipment, Davis said.

Also Monday, the administration provided an overview of the work planned during summer break, including curriculum development. With curriculum, educators are planning for 140 teaching days in the 180-day school calendar to account for inclement weather and testing.

That figure stuck out to Corona.

“I think at the proper time we need to remind our state legislators of the incredibly overbearing burden we have with respect to testing, because it comes at the expense of time on task,” he said.