This high-tech doorbell at La Grande Middle School does not chime or ring, but it is creating a buzz among the school's students, staff and parents.
The doorbell is an integral part of LMS's new buzz-in security system, one of three - along with systems at Greenwood and Island City elementary schools - that began operating in the past 10 days. Buzz-in security systems will eventually be placed in all the district's schools with money from the $31.85 million bond district voters approved last
"We are glad to see this improved security system for the safety and welfare of our students," said La Grande School District Superintendent Larry Glaze.
LMS's buzz-in system had its first full day of operation last week. Previously, one of the middle school's front doors remained unlocked during the school day. Now all the front doors stay locked all day.
People seeking to enter LMS must press a doorbell in the vestibule outside the main entrance. Someone in the front office watching via a security camera located in the vestibule decides whether the individual should be allowed to enter the building. The door is unlocked electronically from the LMS office
The new layer of security is welcomed by LMS eighth-grader Alex Larvik, who said students have adjusted well to it.
"It is great. It helps keep us safe and secure," Larvik said.
The eighth-grader believes that steps like this are wise in light of the school shootings such as the Oct. 1 incident at Umpqua Community College and the Dec. 14, 2012, shootings in Newtown, Connecticut, at Sandy Hook Elementary School.
"You have got to start taking precautions," Larvik said.
Sally McCann, Greenwood Elementary School secretary, said Greenwood students have adjusted well to the new system in part because they are of the digital age.
"All the kids love technology," McCann said.
LMS's secretary, Ellen Jones, said the buzz-in system has had a good reception from parents.
"All of the parents who have come in have said this is a good thing," Jones said. "It is very gratifying."
Jones helps check those who are seeking to be buzzed in on a monitor and decides whether they can be let in. School district employees do not have to be buzzed in because they have been issued cards that unlock the security doors.
LMS Assistant Principal Brett Jackman said the system provides peace of mind.
"It makes us all feel better," Jackman said.