Mesa Public Schools to speed up security upgrades

A still from a video released by Mesa Public Schools in December 2021 demonstrates a recently installed secure front entry system at Booker T. Washington Elementary School in Mesa. Visitors must wait until they are buzzed in by an employee. /Mesa Public Sschools

By Scott Shumaker | East Valley Tribune 

The day after the killing of 19 students and two teachers at Robb Elementary School in Uvalde, Texas, on May 24, Mesa Public Schools Superintendent Andi Fourlis sent a note to district staff and families.

“School should and must be a place where students and staff feel safe and secure,” Fourlis wrote in part. “While no amount of planning can guarantee that a tragedy such as this will not occur, we do everything we can to keep students and staff safe while at school and always look for ways to continually improve.”

Before the massacre, Mesa security officials were already implementing a plan to create single points of entry with secure front offices at all schools – something that has become a talking point for some national politicians in the wake of the Uvalde killings.

Now, the school system is accelerating its  plans to put secure entries in place at all schools.

The vision includes a secure perimeter that funnels visitors to the front office, where they wait in a secure lobby area until they are buzzed in by an employee. The glass dividers between the lobby and front desk will be fortified with a film resistant to bullets and forced entry.

Some Mesa schools already have the system in place, but others are slated for the upgrades in future remodels.

MPS plans to install secure entries ahead of the more comprehensive remodels.

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