Kettering schools add safety cameras and test new visitor security program



KETTERING — More cameras and a pilot program for visitor management are new security measures the Kettering school district has implemented this year.

The new way to monitor visitors is being tested at Fairmont High School, where — along with both middle schools — additional surveillance cameras have been installed.

The visitor monitoring system scans state-issued identifications and can recognize if there is an issue with anyone that would prevent staff from allowing them building access, according to Kari Basson, district spokeswoman.

Badges with their photos are instantly created for visitors to wear in the school, Basson said in an email.

“We will be evaluating the impact and effectiveness of the visitor management system to determine if we will install additional systems at other schools,” Basson said.

The new system “is an opportunity to add another layer of safety and security in our buildings,” she added.

Measures that make it “harder for people to get in to potentially cause harm — anything that can stop that — is always a good thing,” Kettering Police Department spokesman Officer Tyler Johnson said.

The school district received $83,137 in grant funds for more cameras at Fairmont, and Van Buren and Kettering middle schools, records show.

Kettering is seeking more Ohio safety grants to beef up security with more cameras, exterior door card access, visitor badging and exterior building lighting, Basson said.

Meanwhile, students and staff are urged to relay any suspicious activity, new Kettering Superintendent Mindy McCarty-Stewart said in a message to the district.

“It is very important that we have everyone’s eyes and ears attuned to safety,” she said. “When you see or hear something that doesn’t seem right, please don’t hesitate to report it … if you feel an immediate danger exists.”

A few weeks ago, a parent found a door unlocked at an elementary school when they picked up their child at after-school care, McCarty-Stewart said. Kettering Business Director Jeff Johnson met with principals and child care staff at buildings that house the YMCA’s program to underscore that the doors must be secured during those hours, she added.

In February, a loaded gun was found in a student’s locker at John F. Kennedy Elementary School and Kettering police responded to the scene. The 9-year-old was expelled.

Since then, KPD’s Johnson said, he is not aware of similar issues “or any calls for concern” to police at Kettering school buildings.

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