Fairfield schools to increase security

Security improvements will be made to the entrances at Fairfield East Elementary, Fairfield Intermediate, Fairfield Middle and Fairfield High schools, said assistant superintendent for business, Billy Smith.

“Those front entrances have not been secured,” Smith said. “In other words, anyone can walk up, open the door and just enter the building.”

Entrances at the district’s other buildings are secured by a locked door with a buzzer, which someone inside must monitor to give visitors access to the building. A similar system will be added to the buildings that do not currently have any such system.

Materials for the security improvements should arrive within four to six weeks, Smith said.

Tim Adams, who teaches at the Intermediate building, and is also the president of the Fairfield teachers union, said the plan was a good idea.

“This at least gives you an idea of who’s coming into the building, and it’s not just a free walk-in,” he said.

Immediately after the shootings at Sandy Hook, where a gunman killed 20 elementary school students and six adults in December, Fairfield Schools officials conducted a walk-through of each building to identify any problems and to make sure staff was up to speed about the security plans.

In addition to the unsecured doors, most of the problems were “pretty minor,” such as doors that would not fasten, Smith said.

In addition, lockdown security drills increased. Before, they were held twice a year, and now, they happen four times a year, Smith said.

“Obviously, with any kind of event, we’re always looking at what we’re doing,” said Superintendent Paul Otten.

Smith and board President Dan Murray will also attend a March 23 retreat with Fairfield City Council to discuss how the district might effectively communicate with the city in the event of an emergency.

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