School board may vote on security plan

Newport-Mesa's school board may approve security upgrades for its campuses Tuesday night — the first improvements since it began considering options in response to December's deadly school shooting in Newtown, Conn.

In addition to extra lockdown drills and required ID badges for all staff members, trustees are expected to vote on expanding a pilot program at Costa Mesa High School that relies on some extra technology.

Security personnel at Mesa have hand-held devices that are continually updated with pictures and names of everyone on the student roster.

The security team at Mesa has previously praised the program for the ability to quickly verify someone's identity by name and picture.

Trustees will consider expanding the program to eight additional high schools and intermediate schools, which would cover all of the district's secondary campuses.

That would require an investment of about $14,500 for the hand-held devices and software licensing at each campus, said Susan Astarita, assistant superintendent of elementary education.

If the board wants to expand the program to all 22 elementary school campuses, it would likely cost an additional $30,800, Astarita added.

"I don't know that they'll think it's as important at an elementary school as it is at a secondary school," she said.

Other considerations on the table are to develop a "Run, Hide, Act" curriculum to teach students about dealing with intruders, doubling or tripling the current amount of lockdown drills and requesting teachers keep classroom doors locked at all times.

Twitter: @jeremiahdobruck

Copyright © 2019, Daily Pilot
EDITION: California | U.S. & World