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Updates to School Security

It's impossible to discuss school security without mentioning the tragedy of Newtown, CT and Sandy Hook Elementary.
AMARILLO --  It's impossible to discuss school security without mentioning the tragedy of Newtown, CT and Sandy Hook Elementary.

"You look at Newtown and for whatever reason it rocked everybody's boat and it renewed the emphasis on security and it shook everyone and that's a catalyst of what we're doing now," said Randall High School Principal Steve Williams.

Parents started questioning how safe their kids were and what our local districts were doing and the two largest school districts on the High Plains, answered.

"This is important to the district and to our parents," said CISD Communications Coordinator April McDaniel, "And parents were telling us they were concerned and worried, so we took those concerns and made a move on it."

In addition to the measures that are already in place, like active shooter drills and visitor check-ins at front offices Canyon ISD's Safety Task force recommended adding fences around some campuses, two new liaison officers, and firearms on Randall High School's campus.

RHS Liaison Officer Kevin Clayton says he'll be the only one with additional access to firearms, "The school district did come up with a plan and we're actually are getting a gun safe in my office which will allow me more access to a firearm and it will just better prepare us in case of an active shooter or something like that."

CISD also added "buzz-in" systems for each school's doors, and additional cameras.

"It doesn't matter where i am in the building or in the world, I can see what's going on in this school anywhere; so as technology improves, the security is going to improve as well."

Campuses in Amarillo ISD have also changed this year. You also have to buzz-in at every campus in AISD, and when you check in as a visitor, your drivers license is scanned.

Sleepy Hollow Principal Doneiece Ray explained, "It goes to a national database system that alerts us if someone enters the system who is on the predator list."

Because of a $99 million bond, which voters okayed in this May's election, some campuses are getting an entryway remodel.

The new entryways will restrict visitors to just the office, until they're let through a locked door to the rest of the school.

Both districts say keeping kids safe is the top priority, but to do it without interrupting learning.

"That's what you're afraid of, is that you put in fences and guard stand, and barbed wire and you don't want to do that. It's a campus and you don't want to take away what freedom they do have, and the fun they do get to have learning,"  Williams said.



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