Quincy Public Schools are cracking down on security with the installation of approximately 20 security cameras in numerous school buildings throughout the district.
With the help of a grant for $3000 from the Norfolk District Attorney’s Office, the cameras will be placed in several of the city’s 20 school buildings.
“It won’t be for every school right now,” said Michael Draicchio, director of safety and security and transportation for the Quincy schools. “We’re keying on some areas…[and] we’re trying to do this school-wide. The main focus of getting the cameras is for the safety and security of our staff, students, and our facilities.”
Although school administrators wouldn’t disclose where those cameras would go specifically, Draicchio said the cameras would be spread throughout Quincy’s schools. Ultimately, the goal is to have at least eight security cameras in every middle and elementary school, and many more for the two high schools.
“We want to deter any problems, and we want to see who is coming in and out, to maintain the buildings without some more money going to thing that come about - vandalism or tagging or whatever,” Dracchio said.
The increased security is not the result of any one incident, Dracchio said, although North Quincy High School dealt with a bomb threat in June of last year.
Now and then something will happen, Dracchio said, but the main goal is to deter those actions. If something does happen, this technology will allow security staff to catch the culprits behind the actions, he said.
Quincy’s Security personnel have been working on upgrading the safety monitoring systems in the schools for some time now, increasing the number of cameras in many school, and changing over all the equipment from analog video to digital.
“We’re looking at more sophisticated systems, software that can be accessible. That’s a big help to us,” Dracchio said. “We’re getting there. We’re getting to where we need to be, little by little, that’s why we’re trying to increase [the equipment]. It’s not only the cameras; it’s software, working with school it and the city. It’s important that everyone is on board.”
“We monitor so much of our security now than we have in the past. It’s critical to schools everywhere going forward that they upgrade as appropriate,” agreed Superintendent Dr. Richard DeCristofaro.
The need for increased security is nothing new, the superintendent said. If anything, it’s something that has evolved over the last 10-20 years.
“As times change, as the social landscape changes and every city and town in Massachusetts, people become more aware. Whether it's paents, school committee members, superintendents, we want to offer the very best in security for our parents…so they feel comfortable that we monitor the best we can the comings and goings within and around,” he said.
DeCristofaro said he hoped to see more monitoring of the schools not only during school hours, but after school and on weekends as well.
“It gives us a bit more security than what we would normally have,” he said.
DeCristofaro said the new security measures are a joint effort between the school security staff, the School Committee, the Quincy Police Department, and the Norfolk County Sherriff’s office.