Mason schools security enhanced through grant dollars

Every school in Mason will soon get direct access to first responders thanks to a $10,000 grant from the Ohio Schools Facilities Commission.

The money will pay for one Motorola desktop multi-agency radio communication system to be installed at each of the district’s five schools. The desktop system would allow school personnel to push a button to get help in an emergency.

“It would put the building principal (or designee) in direct contact with dispatch – they don’t have to go through 9-1-1,” said Mike Brannon, assistant superintendent of operations.

“It’s a further enhancement to our security and crisis management. All of the things we do to keep kids and staff safe are enhancements. It’s never perfect.”

The system was designed through collaboration between school and law enforcement officials. The grant program was authorized by House Bill 59 and signed into law by Gov. John Kasich June 30.

Brannon said Motorola would install and set up the system at each school. Brannon’s department would work with both the police and fire departments to make sure the radios were tied to the city and county’s emergency systems.

“We are fortunate to have been selected by the OSFC to begin this very important project,” Brannon said. “Our Safe and Inviting Schools Committee help us make decisions designed to help make kids and staff safe.”

This is the second improvement to school security in the past six months. Over summer break buzz-in systems with two-way audio and video capability between the main door and the office via an electric door release were installed in each school.

Its purpose was to better monitor visitors coming to the schools and came following recommendations from police and parents following a pilot security program last school year.

Under the new system once visitors have been buzzed-in, they have to present a valid driver’s license or other identification at the school office. The individual will then be issued a visitor badge which must be returned to the school office at the end of the visit.

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