Baltimore Co. Schools Tighten Security With Surveillance Cameras & Electronic Doors

BALTIMORE COUNTY, Md. (WJZ) — Tighter security is on the way for Baltimore County schools. This, after schools nationwide and here in Maryland are seeing a spike in violence on campus.

As Gigi Barnett explains, students and teachers will soon see more surveillance cameras and electronic doors.

Gunfire rang out at Perry Hall High School on the first day of class in 2012.

SWAT teams rushed in, evacuating students. Parents swarmed the school’s campus.

Eventually, police arrested then-15-year-old Robert Gladden Jr. for shooting another student.

The incident became a lesson in “what to do” for police officers.

But two years later, Baltimore County school leaders say they want more measures in place to spot the warning signs early on.

Director of School Safety Dale Rauenzahn says one solution may be more surveillance cameras on campus.

“You’re going to be on cameras from the time you come to our door until the time you come to the main office. We’re going to have you on camera,” he said.

Another part is better electronic doors.

“All of our doors will eventually be electronic. You need a swipe card to get through or you’ve got to be buzzed in,” said Rauenzahn.

“My biggest fear as a principal is that a child is going to get hurt on my watch,” said Matthew Ames, Parkville High principal.

Ames says the issue of security is a daunting task, especially since students are dealing with a slew of issues from cyberbullying to guns on campus.

He says while electronic eyes will help, nothing may be able to take the place of real ones.

“To have as many different sets of eyes from as many different perspectives as possible — school counselors, school resource officers, administrators, building workers — because they’re going to see things differently. So that it’s not just the job of one person, but of a team,” said Ames.

This past week, Baltimore County principals attended a two-day seminar designed to help spark ideas on how to keep campuses safe this fall.

At that conference, principals were given new ways to deal with child abuse prevention, bullying and social media.

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