School Insecurity: Shelby County Schools, Part 2 - WMC Action News 5 - Memphis, Tennessee

Reported by Jason Miles

School Insecurity: Shelby County Schools, Part 2

Entering Arlington Elementary School recently got a lot less easy.

Even Action News 5's Jason Miles had to first get past a new buzzer, and a secretary on the other side of a closed-circuit camera.  Only then was Jason allowed in.

Principal Gina Gore's school is one of four Shelby County Schools currently testing the new entry system.

"We see this as something that's going to be a very positive system," she said.

Every other elementary school in the county is scheduled to get one too, a good thing when you consider how easy it was for us to enter half of the county schools we put to an undercover test.

An Action News Five staffer, armed with a hidden camera, roamed hallway after hallway, from elementary to high schools, from one side of Shelby County to the other.

He had the most access at Chimneyrock Elementary.  As he walked among children in one hallway, nobody stopped to ask him a thing.

Parents we spoke with were not pleased.  In fact, district officials emailed a warning to faculty and staff minutes after learning about our investigation.  The email urged employees to "follow guidelines for handling visitors in the building."

District  spokesman Mike Tebbe agreed to sit down and view what our hidden camera caught.  If anything, he hoped the new entry system would help ensure strangers like us don't get in unannounced.

Meanwhile, "we certainly will be monitoring the halls and continue to try and be as diligent as possible with existing guidelines," Tebbe said.

Perhaps keeping better track of those who do walk in, hidden camera or not.

Shelby County school leaders have every reason to believe new buzzers will help with security, but observant employees are key.  In Memphis, we found buzzers in use, but often no one checked to see who was actually coming in.

Coming up Wednesday at 6 and 10, our hidden camera hits DeSoto County Schools.

Click here to send an email to Jason Miles.
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