Meriden Schools Upgrade Security

Maloney High School in Meriden is using new technology and student input to make sure its building is as secure as possible. 

Administrators will check visitor identifications outside the main building to unlock the doors and again at the main office before issuing a guest badge.

Maloney Assistant Principal John Kuckle said the student resource officer has a 32-inch television with 16 panels used to monitor more than 100 surveillance cameras. 

The district also offers anonymous online resources for parents and students to voice any concerns.

The online tips and check-in process are all part of the plan to make Maloney High School as safe as possible, but Kuckle acknowledges that it’s not perfect.

"Heightened security measures like the 3M glass - the shatter-proof glass - is certainly a measure that we’re looking into," Kuckle said. "I’m sure if we could have the whole building encased in it, we would."

The main obstacle is cost.

Top-of-the-line security, according to Meriden Public Schools Superintendent Mark Benigni, doesn’t come cheap.

"It’s all different prices," Benigni said. "Our anonymous online tip service is about $7,000, so a very small cost. When you start talking about installing cameras, keyless entry systems and access, you’re talking hundreds of thousands of dollars and it builds up."

It’s a price tag leaving many districts with an impossible decision: Whether they can afford to upgrade their security, or whether they can afford not to.

"I would say to anyone, there’s ways to make your school safer that don’t cost a lot, that won’t make your students feel uncomfortable," Benigni said. "Let’s make sure we’re doing those things first. And listen to your students. They’ve provided great feedback for us."

Maloney High School students enacted change following a February incident where a former student got on campus and sat in on a class uninvited. Administrators listened to the feedback and, as a result, closed half of the school’s entryways during the morning rush.

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