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On Good Friday, Sharyland ISD installed an extra set of glass doors at the entrance of Sharyland High School as a barrier between the exterior doors and the school hallways.
While the district has already installed similar security doors at three other campuses – both junior highs and John Shary Elementary – recent concerns about securing campuses against intruders has caused the district to examine each of their 11 campuses. Due to the building configuration, it has been relatively easy to add a second set of doors for added security at some campuses. However, many of the elementary school campuses have a very open design, making the task more difficult. The district is weighing the options and may decide to just replace the entrance locks with magnetic locks at those campuses. This could allow the doors to remain locked to unauthorized visitors during the school day.
At the high school campus, the first set of doors at the front entrance is unlocked during school hours, but the second door will remain locked. A clerk is stationed between the two sets of doors where visitors can check in, and once the visitors have been cleared, the clerk will open the second set of doors, which have magnetic locks. Visitors can no longer walk through the front entrance directly into the student-filled hallways without prior authorization. Other buildings at the high school may get a second set of doors as well, such as the 200 Building, which has a front office.
Assistant Superintendent for Business and Finance Jesse Muniz said this not only adds another safeguard to the school from intruders, but it also makes sure parents and other visitors check in at the front office before being allowed in the hallways.
“It controls that traffic flow,” said Muniz. “It isn’t 100 percent, but it’s another barrier,” he added.
“It’s just an additional precaution for the safety of the students,” said SISD Superintendent Virginia Richter, adding that it is hopefully a deterrent to anyone that wants to gain access to the school for the wrong reason.
Richter said the south side schools have been the first schools to get the doors because of their proximity to the border.
Shimotsu Elementary already has the magnetic locks installed. The magnetic lock doors will prevent visitors from coming into the school unless they are buzzed in. A video camera and speaker are installed at the front door and the front office has a button to push to let visitors inside the building.
Muniz said some may not like the new system, but they have to understand that certain precautions are necessary. It’s just an additional safety measure the school district is taking, he said.
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The Progress Times is the hometown newspaper for the local communities of Mission, Sharyland, Alton, Palmview, La Joya and surrounding areas in Western Hidalgo County. We have a staff of veteran reporters who work diligently every week to bring our readers the latest news as it affects their hometown area and people.