Making a Change in School Safety - KULR-8 Television, Billings, MT

Making a Change in School Safety

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School safety is on the mind of many parents after the deadly mass shooting in Connecticut.

Billings reacted to the mass shooting at Sandy Hook Elementary by holding candlelight vigils and a balloon release on the rims. And now schools in the area like the Lockwood School District are reacting by making a change in security measures. In January Lockwood School District held a meeting for county schools to talk about just how to do that. According to Lockwood School Superintendent Tobin Novasio, they're changing intruder alerts by trying to add a push button for the secretary at the main entrance, and adding numbers on exterior classroom windows to help police in the event of an emergency.

"We've actually been in the process of looking into a keyless entry system and expanding our camera systems which will allow us to better control who's on our campus and monitor who's coming and going from our campus," says Novasio.

To improve reaction time authorities held a mock intruder drill without warning students or staff to gage an understanding of what the school district needs to improve. A mock intruder tried to gain access to the building during morning classes, and attempted to open doors of classrooms of the elementary school. It took around 10 minutes for someone to call in the suspicious intruder. After the drill, Lockwood staff noted there's a faulty lock on one of the doors and some children were being too loud in their classrooms. Because the Sandy Hook shooter shot through a locked glass door, Novasio says they want to change the glass at Lockwood.

"We're looking at some films that are actually believed to be a little bit stronger and would prevent somebody from coming in and would slow them down so that emergency response personnel could respond if there ever was that type of incident," says Novasio.

The Lockwood Superintendent says these drills are helpful and kids like Lockwood Middle School student Quinn Gerber, feel safe to be in school.

"I guess its kind of a thing where everyone thinks its not going to happen to them until it does happen, but I've always felt safe here like all the staff they make sure they lock the doors and are really good about that," says Gerber.

 Novasio says they'll need about $75,000 to address some of the safety measures quickly, that will cost homeowners about $5 a year for each $100,000 a home is worth, but money spent towards the safety of children may prove to be priceless.