Pittsford steps up security at elementary schools in response to Sandy Hook tragedy

Posted at: 01/04/2013 5:26 PM
Updated at: 01/04/2013 7:24 PM
By: Berkeley Brean

A local school district is stepping up its security following the mass shooting at Sandy Hook Elementary School in Connecticut, that left 20 children and 6 staff members dead.

Prior to the shooting in Newtown, you could have walked into an unlocked front door of any elementary school in Pittsford and go straight to the reception desk. But that doesn't happen anymore.

Mike Pero is the assistant superintendent for Pittsford Schools. He showed News10NBC exactly what they've done to make the elementary schools more secure.

Mike Pero, Pittsford Assistant Superintendent, said, “These doors would have been unlocked. These are the main entrance doors.”

Now they are locked and now every visitor, whether they're a parent or the assistant superintendent, rings the front door bell. A camera in the unit captures the face before the door unlocks. Whoever comes in still has to go to the front desk and has to turn over their photo ID to the receptionist. It's scanned and then a visitor pass is printed out with the visitor's picture on it.

Pero said, “Then the actual badge would have to be visible while in the building.”

Gretchen Wesley went through the security to get into the school to pick up her son.

Wesley said, “It's not a problem at all. It's really quick. It's really easy. Jean buzzes you in right away. It doesn't make it more inconvenient to get in and out of school.

The fact is this new security at Pittsford elementary schools is similar to the security that existed at Sandy Hook Elementary. It didn't stop the killing there. So is this as much as psychological as it is physical?

Pero said, “It's a first step. So we chose to go this route because we needed kids in particular feeling comfortable coming to school. The outreach from our parents and the way the district responded I think ultimately shows that we're in this together and we want the same thing: we want safety for our kids.”

The decision to do this happened very quickly. The administration in Pittsford had a meeting the day after Sandy Hook and decided then that they would increase the security in the elementary schools. They equipped all five elementary schools for about $20,000.