New School Year, New Security Features In Bellevue

Schools across the metro are kicking off a new year this week; with that, parents want to have peace of mind that children are safe during the school day.

Tuesday marked the start of classes for Bellevue Public Schools. Several security measures are already in place for the district, including locked front door entrances to all buildings and controlling access inside, by only allowing visitors in once they are positively identified by staff. Another part of the security plan is a district-wide Emergency Alert System, which is preset to alert parents via text message, email, or phone call if needed.

Officials told Channel 6 News that new for the 2013-2014 school year there is a Safety and Security Committee, which is comprised of staff, parents, and community leaders. It's all to make sure they stay on top of security changes and needs throughout the year.

Millard Public Schools are implementing serious changes to procedures that also include controlling building access and safety. Door entry systems with buzzers, intercoms and video cameras will be installed throughout the district in the coming months. Until then, front entrances are being secured manually.

Within the Springfield Platteview School District, administrators are proposing a $15 to $25 million bond to upgrade security measures. One of the major problems is in the design of the class rooms inside Platteview Central Junior High School. The rooms are open, which officials said makes it vulnerable to active shooter situations. It's all too risky District Superintendent Brett Richards told Channel Six News’ Chase Moffitt last week, because they (administrators) can't physically lock down the building.

"I think it is on the minds of all of our schools here in Nebraska. We had an incident here in Nebraska. It is close to home, it is not out of the realm possibilities. So, we want to be prepared and do diligence with our Board of Education and our administration to look at these projects to improve our security,” Richards said.

The Papillion-La Vista School District also made changes. Prior to last February, doors were not locked at buildings during the day. Now, they are. Starting this fall, visitors will use a brand new security system, that includes a buzzer and a camera for front office staff to see who is at the school's entrance. They are then able to remotely unlock the doors to allow the visitor in. Four buildings are already equipped with the system, including Carriage Hill Elementary and G. Stanley Hall. The goal, as always, is maintaining student safety.

"It’s a reaction to the recent events that have happened nationwide. After the most recent school shooting, we looked at what we need to do different in our schools to make them more secure and one of them was to control access to, who got into our building and make sure that we knew who was in our building at all times,” District Spokeswoman Annette Eyman said.

The cost per school is $16,000, some of that is defrayed by provisions of the recently passed district bond. Prior to the new systems, door monitors were assigned to sit and watch the entry.

Papillion-La Vista’s new security set-up is very similar to what Millard Public Schools is set to install later this year.

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