Schools Looking to More Security for Student Safety

By: Angela Salerno
By: Angela Salerno

It's a first for Leon County schools, a stranger on campus who tried to take off with a child.

The school district believes it's a wakeup call, saying security cameras may have helped nab the suspect.

"It gives them another tool to assist them by looking around corners and possibly identifying early suspicious characters that might be lurking about," said Dr. Marvin Henderson, Assistant Superintendent for Leon County School Management Services.

Lurking and preying on students such as the young girl at Ruediger. Experts said elementary students are even more vulnerable.

Officials said a security system would have been a useful tool in a situation such as the one at Ruediger. Unlike elementary and middle schools, Leon County high schools have security cameras, but even those can fail.

Leon High Principal Rocky Hanna is calling their system inadequate.

"I can't punch a button and look at a camera and see what's going on at that moment in time. It’s all fed to a tape," said Rocky Hanna, Leon High School Principal.

But school officials said they have a plan in place.

"Within five years we'll have security systems, additional eyes and ears at our elementary, middle and high schools," said Henderson.

Those extra eyes and ears mean more bucks.

"In light of what happened at Ruediger, I think it's well worth the expense to put more eyes on campus," said Hanna.

It’s an expense the school system can't afford at this time.

The district depends on grant money to fund these cameras. It has $160,000 to install the security devices in all middle schools by 2008. However, elementary schools may not receive the funding for the cameras for another five years.

The cameras were originally installed to monitor mischievous activity among high school students rather than to identify strangers on campus.


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