Video intercom systems were installed at the front entrances of four elementary schools in the Puyallup School District during the district’s spring break as extra safety precautions for students.
The system works using an intercom, which visitors wishing to enter a school can activate with the press of a button. In the main office of the school, staff members can see the visitor up close with the help of a camera.
If staff members recognize the visitor, they can authorize entrance by unlocking the front door. Front doors will remain locked during school hours.
If staff members do not recognize the visitor, Puyallup School District Chief Operations Officer Mario Casello said they are trained to ask for identification.
“(Visitors) have to show their identification at the door,” Casello said. “If (they) don’t have identification, the staff member will say, ‘I’m sorry, I can’t let you in without proper identification.’”
Visitors will not be allowed into school buildings without proper identification.
“(The video intercom system) is a great option where all exterior doors to the school remain locked, even the front door now,” Casello said. “It’s a safety precaution.”
(The video intercom system) is a great option where all exterior doors to the school remain locked, even the front door now. It’s a safety precaution.
Mario Casello, chief operations officer for the Puyallup School District
Over the district’s spring break this month, video intercom systems were installed in four schools: Waller Road Elementary, Meeker Elementary, Maplewood Elementary and Karshner Elementary. The district has 21 elementary schools.
“We’re focusing on our elementary schools first and foremost,” Casello said.
With increased awareness of school safety, the district wants to ensure student and staff safety, said Casello. District officials have been talking about installing the system for years.
Firgrove and Spinning elementary schools were the first to get the system years ago, after concerns over unknown visitors entering the schools.
At Spinning Elementary, there was the issue of nearby homeless people, Casello said.
Firgrove Elementary lies along Meridian on South Hill, a busy street that many pedestrians use.
“We had people walking off Meridian right in (the school),” Casello said.
Carson and Edgerton elementary schools are exceptions for having video intercom systems installed. Instead, they have vestibule system entrances, which forces all visitors to the main office.
Kalles, Aylen and Glacier View junior highs also have vestibule systems and will not get video intercom systems installed. There will be no systems installed in the high schools.
The district plans to install video intercom systems in the rest of its elementary schools and four junior highs (Ballou, Stahl, Edgemont and Ferrucci) by Aug. 31.