Shawnee Mission board approves $2 million purchase of new security cameras same day new check-in procedures go into effect

All five Shawnee Mission high schools will have new security camera systems installed.
All five Shawnee Mission high schools will have new security camera systems installed.

The Shawnee Mission School District board of education approved the purchase of nearly $2 million worth of new security camera systems at a special meeting Monday, the same day new security measures officially went into effect at Shawnee Mission schools.

District director of safety and security John Douglass said the camera systems, which will allow for the live look in at every external-opening door in all five high schools, will provide administrators with better monitoring and control of who is coming in and out of the buildings. Each high school will have a control center that will be able to monitor alarms that go off when a door to the outside is opened.

“Most of the doors are not meant for anything except fire escapes,” Douglass said. “There was a situation in California earlier this year where someone propped a door open so several gang members could come in and look for a certain individual. This will help us deal with that.”

The school board authorized the district to purchase the security cameras, cabling and electronic door hardware for all of its high schools from Sirius Computer Solutions on a unanimous vote (though board member Joan Leavens was not present at the meeting). The equipment for SM North will cost $221,262 for an installation fee of $166,000. The equipment at SM East will cost $213,413 with an installation fee of $143,000). The total spend of $1,996,251 for all five high schools will be paid for with proceeds from the bond issue approved by district voters in the mail-in election last month. The purchase will include the hardware for the systems only.

Douglass noted that on Monday new check-in procedures formally went into effect for visitors at district schools as well. Anyone who visits a Shawnee Mission school must now check in at the main office and have his or her driver’s license scanned through a system that will check the visitor’s name against a list of known sex offenders and violent criminals.

Later this year, the district will expand the identification scan to include its internal database of restrictions on parental contact with students.

“If a parent brings us a court record and says that a husband or wife is not supposed to have the kids on certain days or access at all, we can enter it in and we’ll know it,” Douglass said.