Is security too lax at some London schools?
Many schools in London are locked up tight during the day for student safety, but that’s not the case at all of the boards in the city.
A CTV London reporter was able to walk right past the office at a local public school without checking in as required and past two students without being stopped.
However, Barb Sonier with the Thames Valley District School Board (TVDSB) says “We have a lot of protocols in place when visitors enter the building.”
But at the London Catholic District School Board and London’s French board, you have to get past measures like locked doors, an intercom system and surveillance cameras to enter a school.
At French schools money to implement the measures came from its existing budget.
Jennifer Lamarche Schmalz of Conseil scolaire Viamonde says “The number one job of a principal is to keep students safe…safety and security is top priority for students and for our employees, our staff, our teachers and that’s why it became a priority for us.”
It’s the same at all elementary schools in London’s Catholic board.
John Mombourquette of the London District Catholic School Board says “We have a welcoming school community, but at the same time, we want to make sure we have a secure school community.”
The Catholic board started making the investment two years ago, before the province announced an additional $10 million in funding for security upgrades.
“We’ve taken a comprehensive look at safe school planning within our system, particularly with a focus on emergency management planning. And we’ve tried to control for as many variables as possible,” Mombourquette says.
The TVDSB will be getting $400,000 in funding to boost security at school, but for now the doors at many schools are unlocked all day and it’s up to teachers and staff to stop people from getting past the office.
Sonier says “That’s why we applied for the funding and that’s why the ministry has given us the time to implement this and we’re not alone. Most of the boards across the province have applied for this funding and are in the same implementation phase that we are in.”
The Catholic board is also getting security funding, which it will use to expand its current system.
Upgrades at both the public and Catholic boards are expected to be in place by 2014.