'Security update' comes after News 6 report

By Louis Bolden - Investigative Reporter
ORANGE COUNTY, Fla. - People going into the front office of Baldwin Park Elementary School now have to be buzzed in to enter the office.
 
Earlier this week, News 6 reported on an unlocked door that was causing security concerns for parents.
 
With undercover cameras, News 6 watched as numerous people walked into the front office of the school with no problems.
 
Parents said the issue had been overlooked for months- some said years.
 
"My son has been attending here since about the second grade and I've never once encountered that door locked. It's always been unlocked," Juan Candela told News 6.
 
Visitors are supposed to ring a bell, identify themselves, and wait to be buzzed in, according to the information on an access device outside of the office.
 
Drew Byrne said school administrators told them the buzzer was broken, so the door was left unlocked.
 
"They've been very open that it is in the process of being fixed," Byrne said. "It's not a secret that it's broken."
 
We requested public records and found 16 incidents reported to the district in the past two years of "door locks not working" at the school.
 
For security purposes, district officials would not say whether any of those work orders were for the front door.
 
The Orange County Public Schools chief communications officer would not do a formal interview but did express an opinion that parents should not comment publicly about security concerns.
 
"We want to make sure that parents are not doing that," Scott Howat said. "That parents are taking that to the principal and the principal is taking it to the area superintendent."
 
Parents told News 6 they complained for years to no avail.
 
District officials now tell us the office door was not broken, but the front office security system was due for an upgrade.
 
The upgrade just happened to come two days after our report. Fabian Chamberlain, who has a son at the school, is relieved.
 
"I really liked that the door was locked. It seems a little bit safer," he said.
 
"I'm definitely happy to see that there's the buzzer," another parent said.

"I have no problem with it taking longer to get in the school if that means my kids are safer."
 
A spokesperson released a statement Thursday reading, in part, "For the protection of our children, we don't disclose security issues."

Should parents have any concerns, they should contact their principal, according to the statement.

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