SRO evaluates increased campus security

Last summer, Brevard Public Schools ramped up campus security by requiring visitors to be badged or buzzed out of the front office in order to gain access to the campus. And while district security will soon conduct an official evaluation to determine how the system is working, School Resource Officer Valerie Butler has been doing her own assessment. 

“I feel like the changes that have been added thus far are working very well,” School Resource Officer Valerie Butler said. “The key was to achieve a single-point entrance system, which we have accomplished. The only way a person can enter on to campus without a key or a badge is through the front office. This helps eliminate unknown persons on campus and alerts multiple staff members if someone enters who is causing a disturbance of any kind.”

But in a perfect world, Butler she said she would like to change the track parking lot.

“As of right now every single student entering/exiting that lot during school hours has to be let in and out,” Butler said. “I feel installing something similar to the pedestrian entrance gate in the front of the school so that the office could remotely allow students access would be a good investment.”

Students used to be able to readily access their cars during the school day, but now must obtain administrative permission — which Butler said has had a positive impact.

“I have also noticed a decline in disciplinary issues related to contraband that a student might be accessing in their vehicles,” she said.

But one negative consequence is a lack of manpower.

“At times when I’m not available to open that gate, the task goes to the custodial staff who are already working so hard to maintain the grounds,” Butler said. “At times this pulls from those resources and can be a small burden. Overall, the system is working OK in my opinion. Some students have complained about the amount of time it takes for the gate to be opened, but I try to prepare each student who parks out there by explaining that I’m coming from a long distance away sometimes or from a meeting and their time management is key to getting to their classes on time.”

Butler said she believes if everyone on campus were aware of their surroundings, the campus will be a more secure place.

“There isn’t anything that keeps a determined person from jumping a fence, same as a neighborhood or a residence,” Butler said. “That is why it’s so important for teachers, staff and students to be aware of the things they are trained to do for security. One single person or even a small group cannot keep the campus safe. It’s a team effort, and by teachers locking doors and students being aware of their surroundings, the campus will be much safer. Everyone has to take responsibility for their own safety on some level and be prepared to think independently if they find themselves in an unsafe situation. Students and teachers should take drill and training exercises very seriously and use that as a way to formulate a plan should certain things occur. No security system in the world will prevent every conceivable threat, that’s where we all come in to do our part. If you see something, say something.”

By Mackenzie Jerdon