Fort Zumwalt elementary school testing new security measures


by Diana Zoga / News 4

Posted on August 20, 2013 at 11:13 AM

Updated Tuesday, Aug 20 at 5:00 PM

When school counselor and parent of two students, Christie Wolfe, walks her kids into Westhoff Elementary, she knows extra eyes are watching. 

“When it comes to kids, I think you can’t be too safe.  So, I was all for it,” said Wolfe.

Over the summer, Fort Zumwalt School District had 14 new high resolution cameras installed inside and outside the building.  The cameras have the ability to pan and zoom and are placed in the main hallways and at all the entrances.  

Principal Jason Sefrit showed News 4 how he can control the cameras from a laptop, panning and zooming.  The cameras can also be accessed by staffers at four other computers in the building and at the school district office.

The cameras cost about $25,000 and the district spent another $5,000 to install a special film on glass in all the exterior doors and windows.  Fort Zumwalt Superintendent Bernard DuBray said the film would make the glass shatter-resistant.

“It strengthens the glass to the point where you can’t really get through it.  I’ve seen concrete blocks thrown at it and it didn’t break,” said DuBray.

“That was one of the issues at Sandy Hook.  When the individual came in, he broke through the glass.  He shot through the glass and we wanted to do something to strengthen our glass to prohibit anything like that and make parents feel comfortable,” added DuBray.

Last December, Adam Lanza shot 20 students and six adult staffers at Sandy Hook Elementary.  The 20 year old shot through glass in the front door.

Already, exterior doors in all Fort Zumwalt schools are locked during the day.  The buildings are equipped with a video camera at the front doors so office staff can see who they are buzzing in.  

DuBray says the district is considering doing more - installing new cameras and glass-reinforcing film in all of the district’s 15 elementary schools by the end of this school year.