Summer bears many new security policy changes at WJ


Photo by Caeden Babcock

The WJ security team is stationed on the first floor. MCPS has made many changes to the security protocols and more are expected.

With many tragic events taking place in schools around the country, school safety has been at the forefront of MCPS policy changes for this year and years to come. MCPS has been reviewing school safety protocols and practices around the county for the past two years and is starting to make changes. Some of these changes include new procedures and practices, along with technology updates and facility enhancements.

“Once again, MCPS is on the cutting edge as we deal with school safety and wellness of our students,” Director of the Department of School Safety and Security Ed Clarke said.

MCPS is implementing many safety measures to make sure school security is performing to the best of its abilities. This starts with the security personnel at MCPS, whose job descriptions have been reviewed by MCPS and will be updated along with the operating procedures. The recruitment process for key security staff will also be re-envisioned. Teachers and staff have already or will soon be instructed to supervise lunch periods and other “zones” throughout the school day to provide more coverage of school grounds and the surrounding areas.

The effective collaboration of school security and law enforcement is extremely important for the safety of staff and students. At WJ, the security team has a strong relationship with law enforcement.

“We have a very good working relationship with the police department\; as a matter of fact, the Chief of Police was my rookie,” Security Team Leader Patrick Rooney said.

Technology has been a big deal for upgrading school security. MCPS has reviewed all technology usage to ensure that it is being used effectively and strategically. Elementary schools will have more security cameras installed and any outdated equipment will be upgraded. MCPS has also considered implementing a panic lockdown switch that locks all doors to slow a potential threat.

“One important feature of facility security is the controlled access and entrance to the school building,” according to the MCPS website.

Some of the older schools in the county are going to see construction in the next two fiscal years. Schools that don’t have a separate entry vestibule, forcing visitors to go through the main office first before entering the school, will be redone. The Board of Education has requested $4.9 million from the Capital Improvements Project for School Security to help address this problem.