Exclusive: Queens school outfitted with free high-tech security

OZONE PARK (WABC) -- Eyewitness News is getting the first look inside a safe school, outfitted for free with high-tech security to protect students and staff in the event of an attack.

But the school doesn't feel like a fortress. The safety features blend right in.

As parents came to pick up their children at St. Elizabeth Catholic Academy they could take comfort in knowing this PreK school is now one of the safest in the city.

"One of the reasons it drove me to this school was because of the security system. We don't know of another that has it, this is really a plus," said parent Jorge Beltran.

Jorge Beltran and other parents are seeing extraordinary safety measures that have been installed here, making each of eight classrooms a "safe room" against a potentially dangerous intruder.

"When you take a closer look each lock is reinforced with ballistic steel," said operations manager Adham Kaawar.

The teacher then takes charge of their classroom protection. "Any intruder comes in, all you would have to do is actually close the door. Dead bolt the top and the bottom. No key is necessary," said marketing representative Evan Dettig.

The teacher then ushers the students to a corner where the wall has been reinforced.

"Nothing is going to penetrate this wall, To the naked eye you really don't see anything," said Dettig. The wall protection, he said, is military certified ballistic steel.

The new security measures are offered free of charge to 4,000 schools and districts by Alert, Inc. a not-for-profit. John Scotti is the founder.

"There's no visible change to the school at all. Yet ever classroom in this school is a safe room," said Scotti.

"I was very apprehensive. Why would somebody come in and put in all this security for free?", said Principal Bill Ferguson.

Assured that the school would not have to pay the $150,000 cost, installation took two weeks.

And it includes an alarm and surveillance system with 39 cameras installed by Alan Kovacs' Security Company.

"They are covering all the entrances and exits, hallways and corridors," said Kovacs. "Any threat to the building can be known about and spotted right away, and of course protecting children."

In the event of an emergency school officials can also see all the cameras on any smart phone.

"We have to do things like this but the way John did it in setting this up it really is not noticeable," said Ferguson.

It gives Nene Spellman peace of mind knowing her daughter is safe.

"I believe it is good. I think all schools should have it, yes," said Spellman.

Other schools are now seriously looking at the free safety offer.

A second school building will be outfitted and other schools are now seriously looking at the free safety offer.
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