Mass. schools use drills, tech and consultants to increase security
ATTLEBORO – Tuesday’s tragedy in Texas is bringing renewed focus on the debates about gun reform, mental health and school safety.
As school shootings seemingly become more and more frequent, school districts around the country have been pumping more money into security improvements.
The new $259 million high school in Attleboro is nearing completion after three years of construction.
The new facility features state-of-the-art security systems, including the most recent addition of a gun detection system, one of nine in the school system.
“We are doing the best we can,” said Attleboro Mayor Paul Heroux, “We cannot make any promises, unfortunately, but what we can say is that we are being proactive and pursuing all active technology and also the culture inside the school.”
Heroux said the new school has simple infrastructure changes to improve safety.
“This current high school, the one that is going to be torn down this year, has about 50 entrances in it. The new high school has about a dozen,” Heroux said.
In nearby Franklin, police were practicing an active shooter drill just as the tragedy in Texas unfolded Tuesday.
Police used an old charter school to practice tactical responses and rescues.
“It’s very important,” said Franklin Police Chief Thomas Lynch. “It’s one of those things you hope you never have to use it, but if something was to happen, we would be able to respond and protect the citizens of the town.”
The Edward Davis Company specializes in security threat and assessments and consults area school districts on how to strengthen their security systems.
Joseph Lawless has more than 40 years of experience in security, including heading up security for MassPort for more than two decades.
“Things have really picked up in light of recent events around the country,” Lawless said. “We look at what they have in place for security including locks, doors, technology closed circuit television. And then we move on from there to look at their processes and procedures to make sure they are lined up with the technology they have in place.”
Lawless said they are currently in talks with roughly half a dozen school districts and colleges in our area.