Quaker Valley Steps Up Security Measures at High School

Visitors will have to turn over their car keys in exchange for a security badge while visiting the high school. The keys will be returned when the visitor signs out.

is introducing a security program that changes the visiting procedures for anyone who enters the building.  

Starting next week, when visitors arrive at the high school in , they’ll have to sign in and exchange their car keys for a visitor's pass.

Principal Andrew Surloff said officials will the procedure over the next 60 days and go from there.

He said the district paid for a security audit with a consulting firm, looking at overall safety practices in various areas. The security procedures are suggestions the consulting firm made, as the district looks at ways to put some of the ideas into practice.

“There was no incident that sort of spawned this,” Surloff said. “These are just some of the suggestions in ways that we could perhaps improve security at the high school.”

Beginning Feb. 9, when visitors arrive at the high school, they’ll sign in and exchange their car keys for a visitor's pass. Once they complete that step, they’ll be escorted to their destination in the building and back to the office once the visit ends.

Visitors will receive their car keys after they have returned their pass.

Surloff said that in the past, visitors signed in and received a sticker to wear. They were escorted to their area, but after the visit, they weren’t required to return the pass.

“When they would leave, they would just tend to sort of exit without signing out necessarily, although most would come through the main office,” he said.

Surloff said the school hopes to get the word out about the new procedures.

“We just wanted to put out some notice to our families so they can expect this to happen, so they are not surprised when they reach the high school office,” he said. 

Rodger Morrow January 31, 2012 at 09:09 PM
I have yet to hear any convincing argument that holding visitors' car keys hostage will make the high school any safer. I have plenty of old car keys lying around my house. What's to stop me from leaving those as "collateral" for a visit? Like most "security" measures, all this does is inconvenience people and lull administrators into the illusion that they're doing something constructive. No serious predator with an IQ over 100 will be deterred in the least.
Cooper Davis February 02, 2012 at 01:11 PM
I believe you missed the point of this. It seems to me that it is important for school officials to know exactly who is in the building at all times. If there is an emergency (fire, lockdown, etc.) it is important to know who is in the building for their own personal safety.
Rodger Morrow February 02, 2012 at 02:52 PM
I am curious to know how "Cooper Davis" presumes to understand "the point of this," since the goal of the new security procedures is nowhere mentioned in Ms. Dudkiewicz's article. As the parent of a student currently enrolled at QVHS, my primary concern is with the protection of students, not the well-being of visitors who may, on some rare occasion, find themselves inside the school during an emergency. In any case, I have yet to hear a convincing explanation of why confiscating visitors' car keys accomplishes anything beyond inconveniencing legitimate visitors to the school (to say nothing of infringing on their property rights). Moreover, if visitors are now going to be escorted both to and FROM their destinations in the building, as the article asserts, why also bother to take their car keys? I'd be very much interested to know how the school came to hire the unnamed "security consulting firm" cited in the article and how much taxpayers' money was spent for this half-baked bit of advice.
Larissa Dudkiewicz February 02, 2012 at 05:37 PM
I'm working to get an answer to your questions Rodger. From what I understand, the district began working with the firm this year and this is just one of many suggestions. Keep in mind it's also a pilot program.
Rodger Morrow February 02, 2012 at 06:55 PM
Much appreciated, Larissa. I'm glad you're on the case. All I've seen about the policy is what's been published in your article and on the qvsd.org website, so maybe there's some brilliant counterintuitive idea behind this that I'm missing. But from where I sit, this is a solution in search of a problem—and a logically inconsistent one at that. Asking that visitors be escorted to and from their destinations seems perfectly reasonable; asking visitors to surrender car keys on top of this doesn't. I visit a lot of secure facilities in my consulting work, including many who are DoD contractors. Some ask for a photo ID; some don't. All of them ask for a signature and make sure I'm escorted to and from my meetings. NONE of them has ever asked for my car keys. It seems to me that the school administration is slipping into a TSA mentality here, by which I mean that the more visible and intrusive the security measure, the more that the school will be seen to be "going the extra mile." Meanwhile, the question of whether our students, faculty and visitors are in reality any more secure goes unasked. Columbine, Beslan, West Nickel Mines, Virginia Tech and other such tragedies all attest to the need for better security measures in our schools. But does anyone truly imagine that asking visitors to leave their car keys at the front office would have prevented a single death in these cases?


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