AMHERST – Six Cumberland County elementary schools will receive a new level of security in the coming months.
Spring Street Elementary in Amherst, Cumberland North Academy in Brookdale, Cyrus Eaton Elementary in Pugwash, Northport Elementary, Wentworth Elementary and Advocate District School will have new video intercom security systems installed prior to the 2013-14 school year.
“In the last number of years we have really seen an evolution in the level of security that parents, students, staff and community members expect, especially at the elementary school level,” Chignecto-Central Regional School Board spokeswoman Debbie Buott-Matheson said Wednesday. “This is answering that need and that level of security people desire for children when they are at school.”
Each school will have a buzzer with a camera and intercom at the front door that will be connected to a camera and intercom in the main office. Staff will be able to see who comes to the front door and grant or restrict access to the building.
Seventeen schools across the district are already using the system. Twenty-six other schools, including the six in Cumberland County, are getting the system, each of which cost between $3,000 and $4,000.
The total cost of the project is $150,000.
“We’re seeing the evolution of the trend across all sectors. When I was growing up we didn’t lock our house, now I lock my doors,” she said. “Even in small communities where everybody knows everybody there will be the extra level of security.
“The whole idea is for us to provide as much safety and security for our students and staff as we can.”
Cumberland North Academy vice-principal Tammy Bickerton is looking forward to the new system.
“It’s a great idea. We have a unique situation here in that we can’t see people as they come in the front door because there’s no window from the office into the entrance area,” she said. “Someone could come in the building and go down the right wing and we wouldn’t know they’re there.”
Bickerton said all other school doors are locked, but there are so many deliveries during the day that it would be difficult to lock the main entrance as well.