*Update: All VBCPS schools began utilizing this new system Monday, Sept. 17 – three months ahead of the original schedule.
While Virginia Beach City Public Schools (VBCPS) continues to welcome all guests, the school division is adding another layer of security to its buildings this year.
By the end of September, all school visitors will have to use the new video intercom system at the building’s main entrance to request entry since front doors will be locked. All other exterior doors are already locked at all times.
The system is a silver box with a buzzer, voice intercom and video camera. Visitors will press the buzzer to connect with the school’s security staff who can see, hear and speak to individuals requesting entry.
“Once security determines that there is a legitimate reason for the visit, they will remotely unlock the door for that visitor to proceed to the security desk,” said Office of Safe Schools Director Richard Ponti.
For safety purposes, visitors will not be allowed to “piggyback,” meaning every visitor or group will have to use the intercom’s buzzer to communicate with building security prior to gaining entry.
At the security desk, visitors are required to provide a picture identification which is screened through the Visitor Management System that the school division added last year as part of its safe schools practices. After identifications are screened, guests receive a badge which all visitors are required to wear while in the building. VBCPS staff are required to wear their division-issued badges.
“We’re adding the video intercom system as another layer to make buildings even more secure,” Ponti added.
The systems are already installed at schools and will be activated throughout the month as software is connected and staff are trained. All systems are anticipated to be active by the end of September.
30 thoughts on “VBCPS adds another layer of security to its front entrances”
I am all for this added level of security, but truly wonder how effective all of this will be with the implementation of “one lunch” in the high schools where the students will have free reign over the entire school…. believing that there will NOT be students slipping out and then being let back in by other students is putting our heads in the sand….
That’s a good point!!! I am concerned with that as well !
That’s the guests gonna have to stand on line out in the cold? And How is this
So secure? Kids, parents,
And others carry all kinds of things in their pockets.
Backpacks, & pocketbooks!
What about things that get
Carried into the schools!
That is the problem in a
Nutshell! These other
Things are small bandaids
And not the issue for a gun a knife or a bomb!!! What
Are you doing about that?
I hope the windows are
Secure too by having
Cameras around the building! Wow, that’s a real giant expense! Any
Body have any better
Should have IDs on at all
Times in school too! You
Need to identify the students too! And if you want to get really good
They can use computerized
Doors like other places do!!
It may not be perfect! However, it’s a start to make sure our students are safe. I commend the school for addressing a very very serious issue. I just will keep my fingers crossed that this will be the beginning of a much safer schools for our children!
Yep, one lunch is a waste of time and resources.
I agree that this will be less effective in high schools. Students let each other in via locked doors all the time. All it will take is a two-person “team.” I hope there is still a focus on making sure that every student is really “known” by at least one staff person. Relationships are also a crucial part of making our schools safer.
I Express the same concern, the kids get to wonder around the school for an hour, plenty time for mischief, and to get lunch is a extremely long wait.
I totally support any initiative that would protect students and staff in our schools. There are a lot of videos of actual devices to lock classrooms doors, that I think it could also be useful in case of a major problem. Thank you very much for taking preventive measures to protect the kids and staff. As a parent I tell myself that it will never happen here, so I can send my kids to school without fearing of their lives.
This is great! Thank you so much for implementing this after years of requests and worry from parents. After the last school shooting, it was good to
See VA BCh schools reply with a swift response and action by this school year . Thank you!!!!
I’m truly happy with this additional layer of security.
I think this is great for elementary and middle schools. I am not sure it will work well at the high school level.
Like C.Russ and Chris Clements, I also doubt the efficacy of this at the high school level. Many high schools have portables, and some main building doors open at the end of class blocks so students can enter or leave the main building.It would be very easy for a non-student to slip in at that point.
Consider PAHS right next to a shopping center. The campus isn’t secure at all — anyone could slip through the openings in the fence behind that shopping center and walk right onto school property (and not near the buzzer at the main entrance).
A staff member at a high school told me that students will let anyone in those doors not at the front of the building.
So maybe feel a bit more secure about the elementary and middle schools, VBCPS. But the high schools? Nope!
I am all for the added security level at schools. Keeping our children safer should always be a top priority! Please make sure to post signs at the front door though about the “piggybacking” rule so ALL visitors adhere to it. I have personally seen some who feel entitled to bypass security for whatever reason and get quite rude if they are called out on it. (The most common, so far, being “You don’t need my ID, everyone knows me here.”) I also hope that staff is trained not to keep people waiting outside at the door while they continue to chit chat or gossip with the person infront of them inside.
I wonder if emergency personal have the ability to bypass this. Since often the problem starts on the inside/inside not outside/inside.. if the security/office is compromised… Can emergency personal get in without a buzz in?
One lunch is a total waste of time.
I was just wondering why you feel this way….my daughter is a freshman and has already sought out a teacher for help.
I too am very concerned how this will work at the high school level especially with one lunch. One lunch is a ridiculous idea in the first place. How are you going to control the students going in and out. You are not!
It makes me feel good knowing this security system is in place as my son starting middle school this year. Thank you!
I like the new system and think it will be an effective safety measure. I am concerned and would like to know what override procedures are in the event of power outages, glitches or hackings. You can say it is on generator but I was recently involved in a situation with the same type of system where the locks and badge-in only locks could not be overridden due to possible hacking. This caused us to revisit the override process.
I appreciate this extra layer of security! I worry sending my kid off to school with the fear of tragedy happening. We think it will never happen but you never know! Thank you VBCPS
This new step is moving in the right direction in light of the instrusion at the end of the last school year at Thalia Elementary, but keep in mind many shootings are carried out by the actual students. The next step would be to install metal detectors for everyone to pass through upon entry. Let’s not be reactive, but proactive!
This is a great step in the right direction, but why not implement metal detectors at the main student entry’s so the STUDENT that wants to shoot up the school can’t just slip their guns in there back packs and stroll right on it ????? Hello??? Ex: airports , court houses , you know like how they protect the adults !!!
Agree….an officer used the wand on my entire family going into the football game last night!
They should purchase tactical bulletproof shields for the classrooms and security personnel. This would help them barricade more effectively when a shooter breaches the glass doors by shooting them out. An intercom is not going to stop a shooter from entering the building, it is just going to annoy the security person at the desk and frustrate everyone with legitimate business. Replacing the front glass with bulletproof glass and reinforced doors would be much more effective also.
The news recently did a story about classroom bullet proof doors. We should look at fundraising to install these. As well, all three of my kids have been in public school in VB and all three have been on a campus when there was a gun sighting IN school or a bomb threat in school. One child was in school when a non student came in with an ax and one child was in school when a rape was committed in the rest room. We live in an area with the largest military on the east coast. Why do we not have SEALs helping us secure students from shooters, helping us secure buildings and teaching teachers and students the safest ways to survive any attack. The current hide in the corner crap is not safe or secure. I grew up in Norfolk Public Schools in the 70’s-80’s. We NEVER HAD ISSUES like this. What has changed. I lived in a poor area where most families had guns in the house and most dads served in Vietnam. No one shot up a school or came in with bombs or axes. Figure out what has changed. One lunch sounds incredibly dangerous and disorganized. I have a high schooler right now who tells me crazy stuff that goes on. You need to implement a way for kids to pass on info that does not make them a target but gets info to authorities in a timely fashion. We have neighborhood patrols, why not vetted, volunteer, community patrols for school. Many of our kids are in early and stay late for sports and activities. That no enter rule STOPS WHEN THE END BELL RINGS.
It’s always amazing that any new system is “never enough” for many who post. I agree that there can ALWAYS be a way that someone determined to create havoc upon a school WILL find a way to do so. BUT, I read many of these posts act as though any additional measure is a waste of time. Something like the “buzz in system” IS at least one other way to make the entry more secure. I imagine many would blast the system for doing nothing more. Not perfect, but a welcome addition is my opinion. I DO feel safe in my school where I teach.
I am also waiting for Ms. Carey to offer FIVE absolute provable reasons why ONE LUNCH is a waste (as she posted twice), when I, as an educator who is now involved with ONE LUNCH every day, opens my classroom for constructive use of time and sees benefits…every day.
These types of security protocols do help, and it is better than just having unlocked doors. As others have pointed out there are all types of ways to get around the access control points. It is not a 100% solution and I don’t believe those that implemented this improvement believe it is.
If VA Beach wants to get serious about school security, then its going to take lots of money to identify weaknesses and implement improvements, and I guarantee it is much more than is currently budgeted.
Schools need real threat analysis done by external professionals to identify the security gaps and make risk assessments. This can’t be done by school or city employees without bias.
Next, implement a .02 cent city sales tax which goes ONLY to VA Beach City public schools. This would also help fund school supplies which teachers always end up paying out of their own pockets for their classes. A state-wide sales tax for this would be nice but that would take too long to get passed, if ever.
Good job VA Beach, but we need MORE and FASTER!
Why not have the parents or visitors give their reason to enter and then show their ID on the screen before they get in the building. I don’t see how the current plan shows any additional safety. Perhaps I am missing something. Glad you are working towards their safety thow. You have my gratitude.
I literally experienced it the first day of school to drop something off to him at lynnhaven middle and it was a huge weight lifted off my shoulders. I didn’t know the sysytem yet so i couldnt hold the door for the person behind me but the officer said oh he wont mind with a chuckle and it was really refreshing to them taking school safety this seriously great job va beach public schools!