When the new Joplin High School opens, 285 cameras will keep an eye on everything going on inside and outside the school. The old high school had 110 cameras.
The district's security director, former Joplin Police Department officer Jim Hounschell detailed what students, staff, and visitors can expect when they come to school.
Everyone will be required to have decals on their cars to park in the parking lot and students and staff will have ID badges they will need to carry at all times.
When visitors come to the high school, their identification is "swiped into the system," Hounschell told the R-8 Board of Education tonight, checking their identity against a national database that will indicate if they are sex offenders, or people who have committed other crimes.
If the visitor's record turns up clean, an ID photo is taken, a visitors badge provided and then once they are totally cleared, a receptionist will buzz them in.
If a problem occurs, such as a parent who does not have custody of a child or if a staff member is having problems with an estranged spouse, those names can be put into the system as people who should not be buzzed in.
The extra security for the new high school and Franklin Technical Center Lighting is being placed along the roadway, in the parking lot and along sidewalks, Hounschell said.
Only two doors will be open during the day time- one at Joplin High School and the other at Franklin Tech. Others will remain locked. If they are opened, a loud alarm will sound.
The security system also includes a "duress button," which sends a silent alarm to the alarm company which will call the police. An audible announcement will go out putting the building in lockdown mode.
Board member Randy Steele expressed concern about the reduction of one resource officer at the high school. Last year, three officers were situated at the two high school buildings, with one regular resource officer at each and Hounschell, who also goes to other schools in the district. This year, the total high school force will be one officer and Hounschell.
Jason Cravens, executive director of high school education, said there was nothing to be concerned about because many of the problems happened at the 9-10 center at the old Memorial Middle School because it is an old building. "We won't need (an extra officer) with the new environment." With a new school, he said, students will behave better. "Our discipline across the district has dropped." He was referring to discipline incidents.
Huff noted that a resource officer was a $40,000 expense.
The board members agreed with Huff's suggestion to wait and see how things worked out and add another resource officer if one is needed.
That is unlikely, Cravens said, "once they see that beautiful building."