Kalamazoo Schools Ramp up Security Measures Amid Reoccurring National Gun Violence

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KALAMAZOO, MI — Kalamazoo schools is taking extra steps to keep kids safe amid reoccurring mass shootings across the nation.

Superintendent Rita Raichoudhuri said Thursday that additional training for staff, new visitor screening technology and secured entrances will help keep Kalamazoo schools secure from outside threats.

During the June 9 school board meeting, Raichoudhuri and board members talked school security measures and called on legislators to enact stricter gun laws.

“I appreciate that our district is doing everything we can to keep our kids safe,” Trustee Megan Maddock said.

The superintendent said all doors to school buildings are locked and people can only enter after buzzing into the front office. The district already has security cameras and has increased the number of campus safety officers at the secondary school buildings, she said. The district also uses weapon detectors at special events such as high school graduations and some sporting events.
Beginning Monday, June 13, a visitor screening software by Raptor Technologies will be piloted at the KPS Administration Building, the superintendent said.
Visitors will be required to present a valid ID to the receptionist. The technology will check the visitor against the national sex offender database but does not check criminal history or documentation status, Raichoudhuri said.
The technology records the visitor’s name, date of birth and the first four digits of their license number. It does not keep a digital copy of the ID or share the information with any other agencies, the superintendent said.
Visitors will then be required to wear a visitor badge. The technology will be implemented in schools in August, Raichoudhuri said.
KPS is also using the student safety software Lightspeed Alert to detect threats against students online. The technology scans and flags indicators of concern and sends real-time alerts to designated district safety staff so they can take action when it’s needed.

With help from bond funds approved in 2018, the district has also reconstructed secure vestibules at entrances at nearly every school building across the city.

Future safety upgrades planned by the district include additional exterior security cameras for elementary schools, the purchase of X-ray machines and additional weapons detectors, updated intercom entry systems, connecting KPS radios directly to law enforcement and additional secure vestibules.

In addition to physical security measures, the district has also partnered with a variety of community organizations to help students.

KPS partners with Gryphon Place to support conflict resolution and restoration practices in schools while a Communities in Schools Kalamazoo program targets at-risk students with wrap-around support and extensive mentoring programs, Raichoudhuri said.

The district has also increased counseling for secondary students and increased social work services at secondary schools to support students with trauma. 
Staff involved in conflict de-escalation also undergo Crisis Prevention Institute training while teachers go through ALICE active shooter training.

The district also has a partnership with local police called “Handle With Care” that provides school-based support for students after incidents involving the police outside of school.