FAIRVIEW PARK, Ohio — As the 2022 school year kicks off, the Fairview Park City School District is making a major investment when it comes to security and keeping everyone out of harm's way.
Officials say some of the security upgrades won't necessarily be visible at first glance, and that's intentional for student and staff safety purposes.
However, the district says they're 100% necessary following gun violence and issues at schools across the United States.
Fairview mom of two Rachel Palka is breathing a sigh of relief knowing her kids are starting the school year with new security upgrades across the district.
“It makes me way less worried, and ya know that they actually get to go, and they are safe" said Palka.
Michael Matthews, Director of Operations of Fairview Park City Schools, goal is to make sure the moment teachers, students, and staff enter school doors, they feel a renewed sense of security and trust.
"People appreciate that it isn't something that's just gets thought about when something horrific happens... We bring it out all the time, and we talk about it all the time," said Matthews.
It all comes as the district successfully secured a $174,000 grant from the state to help cover the cost of upgrades.
Once all is said and done, updated high-tech artificial intelligence and new security cameras, new outside doors with laminated film glass, and a new communication system will be installed.
The dozens of cameras will play an integral role in detecting a threat and keeping eyes on potentially hazardous behavior.
"It will progressively learn people as they're coming through--that will happen simultaneously across the district," said Matthews.
Open and urgent communication is key, and Matthews says the iPad system will be a true game changer.
It's connecting directly to the Fairview Park Police Department, allowing them to have a pulse and eyes on the issue at hand.
"In the event there was an emergency response that needed to happen here they can actually log in to that iPad from anywhere--they don't have to be on-site, and they can see every camera inside, outside of our building," said Matthews.
In addition, building staff will utilize half a dozen MARCS radios--where they can communicate directly with dispatchers in an emergency moment.
“It’s gonna make it a lot better and make parents probably safer minded," said Palka.
The district is also using some of the grant money for additional ALICE training.
All of the security upgrades are expected to be completed over the next several months.