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Valley school district getting high tech security

AHWATUKEE, Ariz. – A Valley school district is going high tech when it comes to its security.

When you’re at Kyrene de los Lagos Elementary School in Ahwatukee, chances are you’re on camera. “As I have 54 cameras placed around my building, inside and out, and they’re mainly focused at entryways.”

Principal Tonja Yalung says it’s great for security and monitoring student behavior. Faculty also has smart badges encoded with a chip used to unlock doors at the schools. Those badges can be deactivated in an emergency.

“And we have a special red button, I’ve never gotten to push the red button, but if we had to go into a lock down — which one of our Kyrene schools had to do when there was the shooter at the Chandler mall — we push the red button and deactivates the doors. So nobody’s key card will then work.”

That red button is pushed after kids and teachers are safely inside the school. Systems are being installed at all 25 schools in the Kyrene district.

When it comes to security at schools, districts are spending more on it than the retail, banking and government industries.

Pat Fiel is the school safety expert for ADT security. He says there is more crime on campuses today than in the past.

Last year’s numbers show how it’s increased, he says. “A recent report from the Department of Education – there were over 2 million incidents reported.”

He admits most of those ‘incidents’ were for fights or for stealing, but he still encourages schools to do a risk assessment to make sure kids are safe.

The technology to do that is getting fancier. His company uses surveillance systems to cut down on bullying in the hallways and a ‘smart bus’ that tracks kids as they getting on and off.