Security upgrades planned

DETROIT - Surveillance cameras, secured entryways, swipe cards and enhanced alarm systems are the new face of school security in metro Detroit, according to a report in The Detroit News.

In an overview of current and planned security systems in a number of school districts, The News reported plans ranging from reconfiguring front entrances to route all visitors to the main office, to adding surveillance cameras in middle and elementary schools, to locking the doors and using a "swipe card" entry system.

In some districts, upgrades depend on the outcome of bond proposals, according to The News. In Chippewa Valley Schools, for example, the district is asking voters to approve an $89 million bond next month, part of which would be used to install surveillance cameras in four middle and 12 elementary schools, The News reported.

Chippewa Valley High School Principal Jerry Davisson told The News that existing cameras in the high schools have reduced bullying, vandalism, fighting and theft.

Ken Trump, a Cleveland-based school security consultant, told The News that new equipment alone is not sufficient unless schools also include staff and student body training. One school board member told The News that while it's important that children feel safe, devices such as metal detectors can make them feel they are entering a prison rather than a school.

The Detroit News, "Metro Detroit schools step up security," Jan. 29, 2010

Michigan Education Digest, "Schools beef up video surveillance," Oct. 30, 2008