In a nod to the unthinkable, gates at football stadiums at Manteca Unified high schools are being retrofitted with emergency “crash bars” to allow people to quickly flee in the event of an emergency.
The first campus to receive the modification will be Lathrop High.
Deputy Superintendent Roger Goatcher noted it is a move to be prepared for the worst possible scenario — an active shooter or a similar event.
“Gates at stadiums were originally placed with the idea of not letting people (freely) get in,” Goatcher said.
With school shooters becoming relatively commonplace as well as incidents where people gather, district officials want to make sure people can evacuate stadiums quickly in a worst case scenario.
The district will fund additional stadium gate upgrades at Manteca, East Union, Sierra, and Weston Ranch when money is available.
The wisdom of crash bar gates came up when district leaders were reviewing safety planning. Safety is something that the district is looking at constantly and making improvements when needed.
Manteca Unified has used bond money when modernizing campuses to control entry points, install state-of-the-art surveillance equipment, put in classroom doors that meet a higher threshold of security, as well as install systems that allow quick and effective communication between classrooms and school offices.
Goatcher noted that Lathrop High was one of the first campuses to have surveillance system. That original system has since been upgraded to replace tape recorders that stored video recordings. Cameras have also been upgraded to digital devices.
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