Fairmont adds cameras, door numbers for security

Anyone who’s walked through the halls of Fairmont recently has noticed new security measures in place. The numbers on the exterior doors can hardly be missed and the observant student who happens to look up at the right place in the courtyard or Commons can surely spot the security cameras constantly filming what’s going on.

But why is Fairmont doing all this now? And what does this mean for students?

“Nothing specifically happened to prompt these security changes,” said East Unit Principal Hank Jackoby, a member of the Crisis Management Committee. “We’re trying to be forward thinkers and plan so something doesn’t happen.”

Fairmont Principal Dan Von Handorf emphasizes that Fairmont students were not the cause of this heightened security. “It’s important for our kids to know that they do a great job and are respectful. Fairmont is a good, safe place and these new security measures are not an issue of response to bad things happening, just another resource to ensure that we keep our students safe.”

Along with Jackoby, the Crisis Management Committee includes the Chief of Police and Fire Chief for the City of Kettering. “This is something the Crisis Management Committee has been planning for a couple of years, and now’s the time for us to finally put our security plans into place,” said Jackoby.

One of the most noticeable safety components are the large silver numbers on the doors. The main door by the Main Office is door number one. As one faces the building, the numbers go around to the right and up to the number 30.

“The numbers on the doors better serve our kids. For instance, if there is an emergency and we need an emergency health squad, we can tell them to report to a certain door number to get to the student in need quickest,” said Von Handorf.

Other new safety components are the security cameras that were put up in the Commons and the courtyard. “They’re constantly recording,” said Jackoby. “If something should happen, we could look back at the recorded film to find out what happened and deal with the situation appropriately.”

The cameras have a 360-degree view and can zoom down and in, providing administrators with a clear view of something as miniscule as a tattoo on someone’s arm. The cameras’ film recording is on a 20-day loop, but that can be adjusted according to the needs of the administration.

“It makes me feel creeped out that we’re constantly being watched by cameras when we’re in the Commons or courtyard,” said sophomore Abby Lybrook.

However, Jackoby assures Fairmont students that there’s no reason to feel uncomfortable. “By installing these cameras, we’re not trying to invade privacy or make someone feel uncomfortable,” he said. “Students should know they’re not constantly being watched. We’re only looking at the tapes if we have a reason to.”

Von Handorf said students should get comfortable with – and find comfort in – the new security. “This is where we’re going to be for a while,” he said. “Technology is catching up and is becoming easier to use and manage. I think that overall our kids should feel safer knowing that our staff has a plan and is taking precautions to make this school safer.”

As technology becomes cheaper and more practical, schools across the country are scrambling to try to use available resources to make schools safer. Based on the research of the Crisis Management Committee, the time has come for Fairmont to implement those safety precautions that have already become commonplace in other schools.

Administrators say such changes inevitably create questions and controversy, but Jackoby wants to make it clear that the administration is just doing their job. “We’re planning for the worst and hoping for the best, so people can be assured there’s a plan if something should happen.”