IDs for All Visitors: New Rules at Sag Schools

With new procedures in September, alarms will sound whenever a door is ajar.
With new procedures in September, alarms will sound whenever a door is ajar.

By Carrie Ann Salvi

Visitors to Sag Harbor Elementary School or Pierson Middle/High School will be greeted by a new entry system this fall, according to Superintendent Katy Graves. The system will require parents and visitors to sign in—once with a driver’s license or official form of identification—and have a photo visitor identification card printed before they are permitted to enter the building.

The system is part of sweeping security upgrades the school district must have in place by an October state deadline.

Ms. Graves said it would be good to have the system in place prior to larger construction projects beginning this winter, when construction crews will be in the district.

An additional 70 cameras have been installed in and around the schools, and the district has installed new PA and fire alarm systems.schoolcameras

The system is also connected to a national database of sexual offenders, said Ms. Graves, and would be able to flag any visitor in that database.

Other new systems will send photos directly to administrators when doors are left open. Additional cameras will monitor stairwells and the exterior of the building.

The elementary school is already completely wired, and three to four new panic buttons have been installed, said Ms. Graves.

With one touch, an alert can be sent to police and administrators, as well as to parents and students via email, text and phone call.

The panic button activation would also result in a lockdown of doors, flashing strobe lights and a prerecorded instructional message over the loudspeakers. schoolpanicbutton

Eight large monitors installed around the building will also be used if needed in an emergency situation to alert students and teachers and to provide instructions.

A series of meetings will take place in the fall about the implementation of the statewide safety plan, which is designed to use the same procedures and “exact same language whether Buffalo, Lake Placid or Southampton,” said Ms. Graves.

Drills will be performed with scenarios that include fires, a chemical spill, or a live shooter. Authorities involved in the meetings will include the Sag Harbor Village Police Department, Suffolk County Police, the Sag Harbor Fire Department, and emergency medical technicians.