Hinsdale-Clarendon Hills District 181 to test 2 new security systems

Prospect School in Clarendon Hills will be a test site for a new security system for Hinsdale-Clarendon Hills Elementary District 181. | File photo
Prospect School in Clarendon Hills will be a test site for a new security system for Hinsdale-Clarendon Hills Elementary District 181. | File photo

Hinsdale-Clarendon Hills Elementary District 181 is pilot testing two systems for the 2014-15 school year that will enhance building security.

Hall Pass, which will be tested at Prospect School, basically is the same system used at Hinsdale Central. It will cost $1,465 to pilot the system at Prospect.

Visitors will have to present identification, usually a drivers license, to an office staff member, who will use the Hall Pass system to scan the ID for a check against the sex offenders registry and any other data bases desired by the school. Once visitors have cleared the system check they are issued a stickered visitors pass with their photo on it.

“This is something our Safety and Crisis Committee has talked about,” said Bridget McGuiggan, District 181’s director of communications. “We’re always looking for ways to make our buildings more secure for better safety, and we want to find out if this system works effectively for us. This is a proactive measure for safety.”

McGuiggan said the Hall Pass system is being tested at Prospect because that school has two people working in the office.

“We’ll see how it works at Prospect and how much time it takes from the secretaries,” she said. “That will help us to decide if it will work in the offices of our other buildings.”

McGuiggan said the system can have messages input as reminders for school staff for particular students.

“It will also help us better keep track of students leaving for a doctors’ appointment or other reasons, so it’s connected to student attendance,” she said.

McGuiggan said the system would be tested for at least the fall semester before a decision is made about continuing its use or expanding it to other district schools. It also will be tested at school events of difference sizes, she said.

“I think the parents who have kids at Hinsdale Central will adapt quickly to this at Prospect because it’s the same thing,” she said. “For other parents and visitors it will just be an adjustment of getting used to this.”

District 181 also is using a grant from the Illinois School and Campus Safety Grant Program from the Illinois Emergency Management Agency to cover the $22,400 cost of a key fob system being tested at Elm School and the adjacent district offices. The system replaces traditional keys with coded cards that will be used by employees to gain entry into buildings and rooms.

“The key fobs allow us to control who is in which building,” McGuiggan said. “Also, you can deactivate a card when it’s lost, but you can’t do that for a lost key.”

Gary Frisch, assistant superintendent of business and operations, said the key fob system is more expensive than the Hall Pass system because there are more points of contact in the buildings. He noted there are eight doors for Elm School and the administrative office will receive needed hardware for the key fob system. Frisch expects an additional cost of $3,000 to change out the key locks at Elm and the administrative office.

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