Plymouth-Canton schools to invest nearly $2 million to boost on-campus security

Posted at 11:33 AM, Mar 17, 2023
and last updated 2023-03-17 11:34:59-04

PLYMOUTH, Mich. (WXYZ) — Plymouth-Canton Community Schools (P-CCS) announced Friday that the district has been awarded $1.8 million as part of the 2023 Michigan School Aid Fund to improve security at the districts’ schools.

“At Plymouth-Canton Community Schools, we are laser focused on the importance of helping ensure all students, teachers, staff and visitors are safe, and that means using resources innovatively, creatively and efficiently,” Plymouth-Canton Community Schools Superintendent Monica Merritt said. “From our community partners and elected leaders to our board of education and teachers, staff, administrators and families, all of us at P-CCS have wrapped our arms around the goal of keeping our students and staff safe.”

With the funds, P-CCS says it will install call boxes and enhance security measures at all 25 buildings in the district.

“Thanks to these new state funds, P-CCS can enhance and expand our security coverage using technology that is discreet and unobtrusive,” said P-CCS Board of Education Vice President Lauren Christenson. “Through responsible financial stewardship of the 2020 voter-approved bond, P-CCS is making critical investments in safety and security measures that protect our students, staff and families. The allocation of an additional $1.8 million in Michigan’s School Aid Fund for security enhancements will help us continue to build on the positive steps we’re taking as a district to create a safe and welcoming place for students to learn and thrive.”

Recently, P-CCS acquired Echo, a K-9 dog trained to detect firearms and explosives who will also provide comfort to students, teachers and staff. Echo’s training was made possible through a $13,000 donation from Kiwanis Club of Colonial Plymouth.

“Our No. 1 priority is to help ensure every student is safe while they’re at school, in a place that is both welcoming and secure at the same time,” P-CCS Director of School Safety and Security Josh Meier said. “With these funds – and the leadership of Superintendent Merritt and the Board of Education -- we’re going to enhance our security coverage in ways that can keep our students and staff safe while preserving our schools’ nurturing learning environment.”

The funds will provide new equipment and enhancements including the following:

  • Emergency call boxes for the area around Salem, Plymouth and Canton high schools;
  • Enhanced security measures at building entrances;
  • Protective glass;
  • Improved public address systems and mass notifications capabilities;
  • Visitor and emergency management software; and
  • Two-way radio and communications equipment upgrades.

P-CCS’s on-site central command center, started in 2021 following a voter-approved bond proposal, will allow district staff to see and hear activity in any school building in real time to better coordinate with law enforcement during emergencies.

“With our command center and integrated security operation, law enforcement or medical personnel aren’t walking into a situation blind,” Meier said. “At P-CCS, we provide eyes and ears, in real time, and direct first responders to an exact location in a building so we can act in a timely manner, whatever the emergency.”