New security measures in place before start of Baker County school year

Video cameras, resource officers, fencing around campuses added at schools

GLEN ST. MARY, Fla. – Baker County parents and students who attended an open house Tuesday left more prepared to start this school year.

At Baker County High School's open house, they learned about a lot of changes to school security before students head back to class on Friday.

Some of those safety changes, including a guard post and a camera recording anyone trying to enter, could already be seen at the high school in Glen St. Mary before the start of the new school year.

At schools across Baker County, video cameras, resource officers and fencing around the campuses were added. Keypad locks were installed on the front doors of all school entrances, along with a voice and video intercom system that will allow visitors with identification to request to enter at the front office.

David Crawford, security director for the Baker County School District, said anyone without an ID will not be able to get in and, if something doesn't seem right, the visitor will be met by the school resource officer.

Crawford told News4Jax the school district decided the systems were needed after the mass shooting at Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School in Parkland, Florida.

"We began planning, I guess, Feb. 15, the day after Parkland. I met with Superintendent (Sherrie) Raulerson early that morning at her office and we have not ceased planning," Crawford said. "It became clear that we needed to have a single point of entry to all of our campuses and this device represents the single point of entry for us."

Superintendent Sherrie Raulerson said she wants parents to know they also need to sign up for the school board’s alert system, so they will be alerted of any emergency or early release.

"These are our babies. We love these children as they are our own and, being from a small community, we grow up with these families and they are truly like our children. So when I lay down my head at night, I close my eyes (with) peace of mind knowing that we’re doing everything to protect these children because they are our babies," Raulerson said. "The most important thing we do is protect them and love them with all of our heart."

Parents who attended Baker County High School's open house seemed relieved by the new measures.

Brian Wallstedt, whose daughter will be starting high school, said it was important to see the measures implemented. 

"With all the stuff going on these days, it's good to see how our county is a step above -- got more patrols involved, (the) safety guard shack that’s added, the fence around the whole school," Wallstedt said. "We have an excellent superintendent that watches over everything and a good safety guy that takes care of all the stuff that we need. I feel pretty confident. I’ve got a girl starting ninth grade. I feel like she’s going to be very safe."

Taccarra Dolison, whose daughter will also be starting high school, was pleased about the security changes.

"I think the implemented plan is excellent. I think it’ll be good for everybody that your kids are safe coming to school. You don’t have to worry about anything. I feel better," Dolison said. "It’s important to know parents and visitors will need approval before stepping onto campuses." 

Raulerson also made a YouTube video, explaining the new security measures to parents. The video can be viewed in the player below.

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