In just under two weeks, all of the students and the faculty at RHS will be receiving ID cards as part of a new school wide security system. These cards are called proximity cards, which allow anyone with a card to hold it up to a sensor and enter the building.
Principal Thomas Gorman says that these cards will make security coordination easier at RHS. “[The new system] will allow [school administration] to maintain a lockdown and secure the school. It’ll allow students who are outside during hours to enter in, and will make it so visitors can only come in through the main entrance.” Dr. Gorman says that these cards will only allow regular access during school day hours.
Julie Guciardo, Technology Coordinator for the Ridgewood Public Schools IT Department, says that RHS is catching up to other district schools by installing this security now: “The ID card system was rolled out approximately 5 years ago to all schools, with the exception of RHS.”
She notes that the security card systems have had to go through some “fine-tuning [of] door locked-and-unlocked schedules” throughout their use, but that the schools have never had any major problems with them. Guciardo also says that the system gets improved each year “by adding additional door access panels and security cameras to each school, as well as upgrading equipment as needed.”
Dr. Gorman says these cards are the next step for RHS security control, in what has been an ongoing process. “If you look at the past several years, we’ve been slowly implementing more security. We started keeping doors locked last year, and now there’s this system.” he says. “This system is common right now in other schools, and is similar to what many colleges have.”
According to Dr. Gorman, the cards will not be the last policy change for RHS’s security upgrades, and he wants to reintroduce a security component that the school has previously had. “The only last measure after this is to try to get a school resource officer, which is a policeman, that would be assigned to the school. We used to have this, and are hoping to bring it back.”
Dr. Gorman also says that the cost for introducing the card system for RHS will be absorbed for no initial charge to the RHS students and staff, but that lost cards will cost 10 dollars to replace.
Students are open to having an ID card school. Giorgia Levy, a sophomore, says that she’d “feel a little safer” in school, “especially with everything going on in the news.” Dylan Kane, another RHS sophomore, likes that he’ll be able to know clearly that certain doors can let him into the school. “I think it’s a good idea; I hate having to go to every door to try to get back into RHS.”
Graphics: Jessica Chang