One of the major changes made by the school this year is a new security system that involves scanning ID cards to enter the school. All members of the community will use the new ID system, beginning on Sept. 21.
The school decided to create a new security system to find the solution of having TAS community members entering and exiting the campus without the security guards knowing. Such changes would enable the security to determine if members are on campus in a more efficient way in the case of an emergency.
“Historically, students would go missing in the Upper School. They would leave campus without us knowing that they left,” Mr. Andrew Lowman, Upper School Principal, said. “[The administration would] then scramble [to find students], because they are responsible for students.”
A few summers ago, Mr. Mike Dodge, the Director of Facilities, found a student playing the piano at the back of the auditorium without adult supervision, creating a rise in concern for student safety. “What if that student had an emergency?” Mr. Dodge said. “Who would know that student is here?”
“The system itself is quite sophisticated and capable, and allows us to integrate with other systems, such as the parking lot gates,” Head of Security Mr. Ming-Der Huang said. The security system will locate students at various settings, such as the Tiger Shop, the Fitness Cafe, the cafeteria, and more places. “Having everything operating through one central location makes it much easier for the guards to manage [the security], though it’s a long term process of migrating all information and data.”
The planning of this new system was a five year process that involved the school board discussing the security of the campus. With the help of architects, consultants and school security experts, the school implemented a plan that created an e-Gate system that would inform the security of who enters or leaves the campus.
Although the new system will be more of a hassle to students, faculty and staff when entering the school as they have to scan their ID cards on the machines, it will be more accurate for student facial recognition as in the past, security guards would guess whether the person entering the school was a student.
“Change for any organization can sometimes be difficult and it takes time for people to get comfortable with it,” Mr. Larry Kraut, the Chief Operating Officer, said. “In making these changes we weren’t targeting any particular group—It [is about] the big picture, the assurance that we know we can be safe and secure in how we manage our campus access.”