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Ken-Ton schools considering more cameras and ID scanners

Like most schools districts, Kenmore-Town of Tonawanda has put in place a variety of devices and procedures to try and ensure student and staff safety.

But in the wake of last month's deadly attack on a school in Florida, officials want to do more.

"Obviously this is a topic of great concern," School Superintendent Stephen Bovino said last week as he presented a building security update to the School Board.

Bovino noted that cameras linked to the Town of Tonawanda Police Department and an identification scanner called the Raptor, which does instant background checks on visitors, already is in place in human resources.

The district has cameras in the hallways, stairwells and outside at both Kenmore East and Kenmore West high schools, but would like them in every district building.

The Raptor scanner is used by human resources to check on outside contractors. Christopher Swiatek, assistant superintendent of human resources said the scanner, which checks state-issued identification such as a driver's license, caught about 10 people who were wanted on police warrants or had other records that would prohibit them from working in a school.

Bovino wants the scanners at every school. He also wants to have dedicated entry doors and a person who would oversee the checkpoint with the scanner. This would stop people from being buzzed in and then wandering the halls as they search for the main office.

When an identification is scanned, the machine prints out a visitor's pass and a person at the door would escort them to their destination.

Swiatek said everyone, including parents, would need identification to enter a school.

Police also are conducting security audits of every building, from administration to elementary schools, over the next few months.

He said the district wants all buildings to have a single point of entry and for those entries to be staffed all day. That is not the case at all buildings, he added.

"We'd like to have the process standardized at every building so parents know what to expect," said Assistant Superintendent of Finance John Brucato.

Bovino said Kenmore Middle School, which has been converted into an administration building, is getting a new entry door and will put a locked fire door inside to separate the universal prekindergarten classrooms from the rest of the building.

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