Fairfax County Public Schools is testing out electronic access doors at some county high schools in the wake of the Sandy Hook tragedy. That was revealed at a community forum at the Sully District Police station Wednesday. Most middle and elementary schools already have them.
Dozens of parents showed up to talk with school security officials and police about other measures in place to keep the schools safe.
Jim McLain, who runs the Office of School Safety and Security, says the classrooms now have emergency guides in them with evacuation plans and other key information in a crisis. There are even vests inside to help first responders identify workers at the school, orange for teachers, and yellows for administrators.
Chief Ed O'Carroll, Commander of the Sully District Police Station, says parents and other community members have a key role to play to keep the schools safe. They need to be an extra set of eyes and ears.
"They've got to not be afraid to call us to investigate further at the first sign that something isn't quite right," O'Carroll says. "Get to know your neighbors, watch each other. If you see something, say something."
One parent wanted to know if the schools could have extra locks added to classroom doors to barricade the children and teachers inside in the case of trouble.
"In a panic, they'll never be able to get it off," McLain says. "I've seen scratch marks in the wood of a door where someone couldn't find the handle of an unlocked door. That's why we don't tend to do that."
Police and school security want the community to know about an anonymous tipline to report suspicious activity. That number is 703-658-3636.
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