BREVARD COUNTY, Fla. – Students heading back to school in Brevard County are seeing new security improvements being made across the district.
The increase in security comes after the school board voted 4-1 in June to modify a construction contract to make schools safer sooner.
"The school board decided that there really was no way to prioritize one child's safety over the other," assistant superintendent Matthew Reed said.
The upgrades include additional fencing, video cameras and remote-controlled entrance locks at all schools.
The security measures will also restrict entry to a single, controlled access point.
"It's so we can account for who's on campus and actually has business to be here," Melbourne High School principal Chad Kirk said. "It's for safety of all the students and teachers."
With new fencing in place, durable emergency gates and doors with “crash bars” will also be installed to allow students and staff to escape if necessary.
"They're locked from the outside in, so people can't get in that shouldn't be here," Kirk said. "Anyone can get out of any gate at any time in the event of an emergency."
According to district officials, the $2.6 million increase for the accelerated work is offset by higher-than-expected revenue from the .5-cent-per-dollar sales surtax passed by Brevard voters in 2014 to repair and upgrade schools
“We pushed for this because we feel the security of our schools is of utmost importance,” school board member John Craig said.
In addition to the upgrades, the district said a new badge system is being installed and security has intensified monitoring of social media.
Teachers and staff have also been briefed on common threats and precautions, such as locking classroom doors.
The new security improvements are expected to be completed by spring 2018.