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Pasco schools plan to add cameras, door locks as part of security upgrades

The plans come in the wake of the state's new law on school safety.
Pasco County middle and high schools have resource officers assigned to them. The elementary schools  hired security guards. [Jeffrey S. Solochek | Times]
Pasco County middle and high schools have resource officers assigned to them. The elementary schools hired security guards. [Jeffrey S. Solochek | Times]
Published Sep. 26, 2018

Pasco County schools are focusing on security cameras and door locks in their effort to improve security for students and staff.

District officials worked with local law enforcement to come up with a safe schools plan that meets new state requirements adopted after the deadly shooting at Marjory Stoneman Douglas High in Broward County.

They anticipate having about $2 million in state funding to help harden the campuses.

Their review revealed that some schools did not have adequate camera coverage to monitor campus activity. To that end, a key recommendation is to add systems, including digital video recorders, at a cost of about $840,000.

That change would ensure every school in the district has camera surveillance.

Another concern centered on the types of locks used in classrooms. Some had doors that locked on the outside rather than the inside, making it harder for teachers to seal off their rooms in the event of an intruder.

Some doors did not have locks.

The plan calls for about $1.2 million for new locks that can be accessed from the inside, and that keep doors locked to people from the outside. The upgrade is set to take place district-wide.

Superintendent Kurt Browning acknowledged that it's impossible to completely prevent all potential threats. But such improvements would hinder assailants from causing harm, Browning said, while providing added time for law enforcement to arrive and handle the situation.

The School Board is scheduled to consider adoption of the district's Safe Schools Assessment plan on Oct. 2. Read a review here. (The district is not revealing specific details so they are not publicly available.)

The district already has added armed guards to all elementary school campuses. It continues to have resource officers at middle and high schools.

Shortly after the Parkland shooting, the administration instructed school leaders to ensure all gates and doors remain locked at all times, and to increase their identification checks of all visitors.