All doors locked at Florence District One Schools
Tue, 18 Dec 2012 22:28:10 GMT —
You can't just walk inside schools anymore in Florence School District One.
All visitors have to ring a bell, which alerts staff someone is waiting outside.
Administrators beefed up security in wake of the tragedy at Sandy Hook Elementary School in Newtown, Connecticut.
Twenty children, ages six through seven, and six adults were shot and killed in the shooting, last Friday.
"Whether it's the superintendent or anybody else, you come to that door, you have to ring the bell to get in," explained Dr. Allie Brooks, FSD1 Superintendent.
Many parents called the district asking questions about security.
Paige Howard says she became very concerned after realizing how vulnerable the schools were to violence.
"On Friday, my sister came and walked my child to his classroom. No one asked any questions, no one stopped her. It was just she walked right in and took him to class. That was a big concern of mine, cause anybody could do it. So, I'm happy to see that you have to now use the door bell to get in and everything," said Howard.
Other parents wanted to know why only the newest school Lucy T. Davis Elementary and the Florence School District One office had a buzzer system to keep visitors from walking past the main office.
Dr. Brooks says Lucy T. Davis was just built last year and the buzzer technology was including in the plans, unlike the older schools.
He says the buzzer system was installed at the District Office two years ago after a violent situation at a school board meeting in another state.
Brooks says they may look at installing buzzer systems at all schools in the near future, despite the added expense.
"We're not going to compromise safety where there is a real sense of taking corrective measures."
This week, the district brought in additional police officers at each school.
Administrators also reviewed what was learned during prior safety drills where active shooters were inside a school.
Dr. Brooks said, "Newtown heightened that aspect of our review of our procedures."
Some parents say they feel somewhat safer knowing the district has increased security to better protect students.
"I feel it's great that they're doing any and everything to protect our children. Anything that can be done and will be done will be greatly appreciated from me and I think all the other parents also," said Glen Vause.
Each school has its own emergency response team which is made up of principals, teachers and support staff.
There are also surveillance cameras set up at each school that are monitored by administrators and police.
The district is continuing to review its overal safety plan with Florence police and the Florence County Sheriff's Office.