Rural NY schools consider big-city security buys

Among the technology: Walk-through portals that can detect anything from cell phones to switchblades. A swipe-card system to alert staff if students cut class. And more.

In Poughkeepsie, NY, the school board is considering investing in the same high-tech security systems that are a regular part of life at urban schools. Among the offerings that technology vendor Access 411 showed the upstate New York board, reports the Poughkeepsie Journal:

Walk-through portals that can detect anything from cell phones to switchblades. A swipe-card system to alert staff if students cut class. Computerized class rosters complete with student photos and attendance records.

The fact that Poughkeepsie is considering such devices is a sign of the easy availability of money to fund security purchases and the increased sense of concern that many school districts feel.

"The question becomes 'how much of a deterrent do we want?' " Superintendent Laval Wilson said of potential security systems.

He said the detector system is impressive because it can be adjusted to locate items of various sizes that students may try to get into school. "It will pinpoint exactly where on the body items are," Wilson said.

Students understand the need for security but balk at systems that intrude too far into personal privacy.

Senior Diamond Gilmore said she wouldn't mind metal detectors at the high school, but the computer attendance and tracking system goes too far. "All that scanning I think is invading privacy," Gilmore said. "School is about learning and having fun, not being on lockdown."

The walk-through security scanners cost about $13,500. The computerized attendance and tracking system would run between $30,000 and $40,000, Access 411 said.

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