New safety protocols mandate students to wear identification badges

by Melissa Martin

Aug. 16 school board meeting

As part of a plan to create a “culture of safety and security” in all three buildings, Brecksville-Broadview Heights School District administrators are requiring students to wear or carry identification badges throughout the school day.

Chris Coad, director of business services for the district, said the identification badges, also to be worn by staff members and teachers, is the first step in keeping unwanted visitors out of buildings.

“This is part of a whole new series of new security enhancements we will be undertaking as part of the 2022-2023 school year,” Coad told the board.

Coad said that since the shootings in Uvalde, Texas, the district is making certain all school safety plans are compliant with national incident management systems, the Department of Homeland Security and all presidential directives. He also said the district has established threat assessment teams at all three schools and has launched the new STOPit app, which enables students to report any security concerns, threats or suspicious behavior anonymously.

The district also is updating its electronic security systems, Coad said. One system allows office staff to control who enters the schools, another performs immediate background checks on adult visitors. The district has updated its video surveillance systems, installed shatter-proof glass at entrances and replaced its building access control system with a tnew system that allows smartphones to unlock building doors.

Keeping building doors from being propped open has been the district’s most significant challenge to date, Coad said. Consequently, the security system at the new elementary school alerts office staff whenever a door is unlocked or propped open, requiring a staff member to close it. Security cameras also record the individual who propped open the door.

That system is being installed in the high school, middle school, administration building and transportation building, Coad said.

“It’s not just having the equipment in place that will make this plan successful,” Coad said. “It’s all about changing behavior.”

The administration funnels safety information to the staff regularly, he said, and the staff relays safety and security information to students.

“Unless there’s an after-school activity at the school, the buildings are to be locked down at all times,” Coad said.

New student parking lot

The board voted unanimously to authorize funding for a new student high school parking lot to compensate for spaces lost due to bus drop offs and after-school bus pickup.

The new parking lot will whittle down the waiting list for student parking. Approximately 50 to 100 high school students are on that list, said Superintendent Joelle Magyar.

The parking lot, which will cost approximately $200,000, will be paid for with the estimated $400,000 in contingency funds remaining from the elementary school construction project, Magyar said.

The administration elected to merge high school and middle school start times this year, forcing the bus pickup spot to be relocated for student safety.

“We lost several student parking spaces when the buses had to be angled to allow students to walk in between the buses,” said school board President Mark Dosen.

The new lot is expected to open in October. Spots will be allocated on a first-come, first-served basis with high school seniors having priority.

Teachers will not be armed

The board voted unanimously to maintain its policy of not arming teachers after representatives from the teacher’s union reported in July that the majority of the staff opposed a change in policy.

Alumni association donation

The Brecksville-Broadview Heights Alumni Association donated a plaque for each of the district’s three schools and the board office. The plaque reminds students, staff and future generations to be proud of their Bees heritage.