West Adds New Security Doors, Hopes to Improve School Safety
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Article by Rick Sear
The first three things a Wauwatosa West student does before they get to class are open doors.
Over the 2015 summer break, Wauwatosa Schools installed additional security measures around the district as part of a larger plan to strengthen the safety of the learning environment. Part of these measures is a third layer of doors in the main entranceway of Tosa West, as well as a full reconstruction of the attendance window (which now is partially covered by bullet-resistant glass).
“I always think you plan for the worst but hope for the best,” said West principal Frank Calarco.
The extra layer of doors is intended to supply an additional layer of security during the school day; now, an intruder wouldn’t be able to dash straight upstairs through the unlocked doors on the second floor after he or she was buzzed in from the attendance window. “Our goal is that during school there is just one entrance in order to make everything safer,” Calarco explained.
According to superintendent Dr. Phil Ertl, the new doors may be the most noticeable improvements, but certainly not the only ones. “We do continue to look to upgrade the security systems in our schools and there are many components that I am sure will be considered in the future. Cameras have been added as well as alarm upgrades and the secure entrances,” he said. “The entrances are just one part of the whole process moving forward.”
“In the future, Officer Griffin will more periodically walk around to check doors,” Calarco added. Calarco hopes that the number of times Griffin walks around the school to check doors will improve to around once a day. Any doors found unlocked will then be followed up on immediately.
The funding for the new security measures is part of the District’s general budget.
These new security features may seem good from an administrative standpoint, but students and parents have mixed feelings.
“They’re meant to slow someone down,” Administrative Assistant Betty Marks explained, “and they’re a good deterrent.”
Steven Anthony, a junior, also thought the doors helped safety. “Obviously, the main purpose is security,” he said. “I think it’s a good source of extra protection.”
“It’ll make it safer if you have to buzz into two doors instead of one,” explained Cheri’A Adams, a junior.
Others weren’t so enthusiastic, thinking the extra features are a waste of money and time. One parent (who wished to remain anonymous) said she was “absolutely disgusted by them. If someone wants to get in, they’ll get in.”
Tosa West graduate Matthew Suson had a similar stance. “What the heck is the point of three doors?” he asked. “It might stop an animal, but a full-grown man trying to get in will just throw a rock at it or something.”
“I guess they help improve security against a dog,” agreed senior Tony Sadler. “If they end up being unlocked all the time, what’s going to happen?”
In response to statements about the pointlessness of the new doors, West principal Calarco explained that “It’s a small price to pay for feeling much more safe.”
Whether you love them or hate them, the new security doors in front of West are here to stay, and the District intends to continue adding security measures.
Photo by Anthony Moroder