Schools reassess security after Florida school shooting

Meriden Schools reassess security measures

School’s across the country and here in Connecticut have once again been reassessing their security since the Florida school shooting.

One high school in Meriden has taken a high-tech approach.

School security has certainly tightened up across the nation including Maloney High School, where they've had a couple of incidents just this past month.

Approaching the front door, the main office asks for the visitor’s license to be presented, which is a new step for security measures.

“Some of the things we've done we've had in place for years, but every time there is a tragedy or a terrifying incident we pull together and we say what can we do to make our buildings even safer,” said Dr. Mark Benigni, Meriden Superintendent of Schools.

The id checks at the front door started after the Parkland school shooting.

“We’re actually using a raptor system where we can run the license and we'll actually give visitors photo id's, picture photo id's because we know that someone could take an id from last week and hand it off to someone else,” Benigni said.

The photo id visitor badges started last week.

“We've had a couple of brushes with school security that we would have rather not have had here,” said John Kuckel, Maloney High School Assistant Principal.

Three people were arrested on school grounds last month, two at Maloney, one of them a 22-year-old alumnus who allegedly tried posing as a student as part of a gag.

So, they've increased camera coverage and shrunk down entrances.

“During the school day you can really only get in one way. Before school students can get in one of three ways and all three ways are staffed with an administrator and a building monitor so there is two faces looking at every single kid that walks in the building,” Kuckel said.

Access to the school's 100 plus security cameras was granted to police after Parkland along with giving them quick entry key cards.

“The police can now access our cameras off site and not wait until they get here. They can be driving and have the computer up in their car or on their cell phone,” Benigni said.

They also plan on installing more bullet resistant glass.

“Our students have been incredible. They've really been empowered through all of this. We're hearing from them and a lot of times they know the changes that need to be made as much if not more than we know,” Kuckel said.

All four of Meriden's secondary schools already have a full-time school resource officer.

“I thought that school safety definitely needed to be upgraded and I think that our faculty is taking it very seriously and they're making the changes that need to be made,” said Bryan Brazil, a Maloney High School senior

The superintendent says it's been important to keep a clear line of communication with all the students, which is why the Board of education has approved a $6,500 anonymous tip line 24/7 called Speak Up MPS Cares.

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