Alvirne Security Called Into Question

by Kristen Hoffman

The Hudson School Board is currently weighing options on school security for Alvirne High School.

The Board is considering incorporating either a card based key system or a camera system.  The key system would allow for access for certain personnel through certain doors at various times throughout the day.

Hudson Police Chief Jason Lavoie explained the differences between a key based system and a camera system.  He advocated purchasing security cameras over a key based system because it would add security and also discourage vandalism on school property.

“What we would recommend is security camera system, and the reason we recommend that is that we’re currently using a key based system now,” Lavoie said.  Certain doors on campus are locked, but Lavoie said the system has proved to be inefficient.

“That brings an entirely new component of safety to the building,” Lavoie said.  School Board Chair Laura Bisson asked if the school was as safe as it could be in light of the recent tragedy at Sandy Hook Elementary School.  Lavoie said no, “The school does not have a single filter point for all visitors,” Lavoie said.

Visitors at Alvirne often enter through the doors by the gymnasium, far from the administrative offices located near the front entrance.  He said using that front entrance would be ideal, but not necessarily practical, as it is far from the parking area. “People want to get out of the elements,” he said.

Lavoie focused on the use of security cameras for curbing vandalism through the school.  He noted several reports of vandalism to vehicles in the parking lot over the last year.  “These cameras will not be concealed,” and will be highly visible throughout the campus. Those on school grounds would be aware that the cameras were there.

Superintendent Bryan Lane agreed with Chief Lavoie in that the increased presence of security will discourage vandalism and other acts through the school. He cited the use of School Resource Officers, saying that after hiring one, calls to the school plummeted.

The cameras will not be monitored on a continuous basis, but there would be communication established with the Police department to ensure that if some incident were to go down at the school, IT personal and patrol officers would be able to view live coverage of the school.  Also the footage would be archived, so in the case of a vandalism incident, officials can look at footage.

Other schools in the area are quickly adopting new security protocols.  Last week, Salem High School added additional safety protocols, including doors that stayed locked after a certain time.  But the main entrance at Salem High is adjacent to the office, making it easier to keep track of who enters and leaves the buildings at all times.

Lavoie stressed that a key based system could not monitor who accessed the building.  The Board will work to find the best option for Alvirne at a later date.