Reed Union School District increases security measures in light of heightening threats

Katie Parsons, Reporter

Once easily accessible, the back entrance of Del Mar Middle School is now closed off by a fence and a door

After numerous years of headlines about horrific events at schools across the nation, the Reed Union School District (RUSD) decided to take a step towards mitigating potential threats. Over the summer and during the beginning of the year, the RUSD implemented new fences and raised existing ones to six feet throughout all three of their schools: Reed Elementary, Bel Aire Elementary and Del Mar Middle.

The fences make it so access to the school can only be attained through the main entrances during school hours, along with installing security cameras on all campuses to monitor the premises. These extra safety precautions for the schools were implemented due to the rise of violent threats across the nation urging for more secure campuses. Superintendent Nancy Lynch and Chief Business Officer Carlos Estrella have been working alongside the board on this project for a little over a year. 

“There’s not a fence tall enough, there’s not a lock secure enough if someone really wants to cause harm but what we do through training is minimize what can actually happen in those situations. It’s just a physical barrier but it provides safety and security so we know who our students are,” Lynch said. 

Along with the fences, security cameras were installed on all campuses to monitor the premises

Due to a combination of state and local funds, the schools were able to come up with the necessary $650,000 for the project; the fencing cost around $250,000 and improvements on security cameras and public announcement (PA) systems were priced around $400,000. According to Estrella, the school used a one-time grant from the state, meaning they were offered the money only once to ensure it was used right away and for the right reasons. 

Megan Pirsch, mother of four children who attend various schools in the RUSD, is pleased with the school’s use of money towards the project. She compared this addition to when she moved to Marin five years ago and found that the schools were not fenced in, exposing various parts of the campus.

“I think it’s really important to know that there’s one spot where people can enter the campus and you know [the] office has some control over that,” Pirsch said.

While the board has mainly received positive feedback on the new fences, residents from surrounding communities were initially concerned about the project’s effect on the school’s appearance.   

“If you look at the way the fencing looks at other schools, it looks very subtle and that’s what we tried to do. We approached it with that mentality. We didn’t want to make them look like prisons, for lack of [a better] term,” Estrella said. 

Fences were put up along the right side of Reed Elementary School blocking off sidewalk access

While the basic outline of the schools has been completed, the board is still working on the last phase of the project. 

“We have an architect who is going to design the front of Bel Aire and Del Mar because still from the parking lots, you can enter from a couple places so [we will be implementing] a decorative kind of fences that then make it so you have to go to the office and then you check in and then we let you go through,” Lynch said.