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Improving security at schools a priority

Saturday, January 12, 2013

The killing of 20 students and six adults at the Sandy Hook Elementary School in Newtown, Conn., on Dec. 14, 2012, put every school district in the country on notice that they needed to look at how secure their facilities are.

The Nevada R-5 School District is no exception and since that incident, R-5 assistant superintendent Dr. Tyson Beshore and Vernon County Deputy Dan Miller, the district's school resource officer, have taken a look at the district's crisis plan.

Since that shooting, Beshore told the R-5 Board of Education during their Wednesday meeting that they had been "looking through the emergency plan to see how we can do things better."

He told the board that the district holds regular lock down drills and the students and staff are familiar with the procedure.

He told the board that they already require everyone to wear an ID badge. The staff all have photo ID's and visitors are required to sign in at the office and get a visitor's ID.

"Each building has extra badges for staff and visitors," he said.

Beshore said that both he and Deputy Miller think the security measures inside the building are adequate.

"We need to look at hardening of the exterior," Beshore said.

"Perhaps a buzzer system to enter," he said.

Nevada Superintendent Dr. David Stephens told the board that all of the district's schools, except for the Nevada Regional Technical Center, are built in a way that it would not be too difficult to build an entryway where visitors would have to be let into the building.

Truman already has double doors, he said and the front door at Bryan opens onto a short hall that can be closed off from the rest of the building. And the main entrance at Benton has a similar design.

At the high school and the middle school, it would also be easy to close off the main entrances from the classrooms, he said.

Beshore told the board that another option is to replace the glass in the doors and other large expanses of glass with a product that is more difficult to break.

He said that Gammons Glass has a product available that has a layer of plastic between two layers of glass that is difficult to break.

"It would take three to five minutes to go through this," Beshore said.

"It's something we're looking at," he said.

Beshore said they gave him a rough estimate of $75 to replace the glass in a door with this product.

"The middle school has lots of glass and the high school has areas with a lot of glass," he said.

However, whatever is done to increase the security, it will never perfect.

"The school in Connecticut had all these things in place. I don't know what else they could do," Stephens said.

"There is no way to keep someone out who wants in," he said.

"We want to slow them down," Stephens said.



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