The Beverly Hills Unified School District Board of Education agreed this week to proceed with plans to enhance security around the perimeter of Beverly Hills High School.
"The issue here is the instrumentation, tools, motorized gates, alarms on doors, one-way entry doors, and manned posts and roving posts for security personnel to be able to monitor our campus in an efficient way," board President Jake Manaster said at the Jan. 8 school board meeting.
BHUSD is reviewing campus security in response to the December 2012 shooting spree at an elementary school in Newtown, CT.
"Access control is primary for this school district," Beverly Hills Police Department Det. Lt. Joe Chirillo said at the meeting. "The open campus [at BHHS] is just inviting issues that we don't need."
Chirillo had suggested that a fence be installed around BHHS back in January 2011 after a 28-year-old man entered the high school the month before and sat in on a morning class until he was reported by a student.
At its Jan. 11, 2011 meeting, the school board approved the construction of a 6-foot tall chain-link fence around the high school campus, but the plan was then dropped a couple months later in favor of making BHHS a closed-campus school and increasing the number of security guards there.
Then in June 2011, the school board again changed course, unanimously voting to spend about $250,000 to install a motorized chain-link fence around the perimeter of the campus. Unlike the original proposal, the BHHS front lawn—where graduation is usually held—would not be inside the fence. But the project never broke ground.
The current cost estimate of installing a fence around the high school remains about $250,000, Superintendent Gary Woods said at this week's board meeting. The funds would come out of Measure E, the $334 million bond passed by Beverly Hills voters in 2008 to pay for renovating the five city schools.
"As we've already heard from our law enforcement and our security professionals here at Beverly Hills High School, controlled access is key," board member Brian Goldberg said at the meeting. "Now is the time for us to act and move that program off the shelf and onto the front burner."
District staff has been directed to return with the perimeter security item at a future school board meeting so board members can take an official vote on the plan's cost and implementation.