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After Sandy Hook, Bluffs Schools Beef Up Security

The Council Bluffs school board on Tuesday voted to move forward with extra security measures for the schools. A security firm will recommend security upgrades and work with staff on training and procedures to prevent potential problems.

For example, last year at College View elementary, whenever someone knocked on the gym door exit which doubles as the after-school program, staff always opened the door assuming it was a parent.

Now they have a peephole to verify who is ringing the doorbell.

"It makes me feel a lot more comfortable that she's here and I can pick her up from a safe place in the evening," said Jessie Lapham, who was picking up her 4-year-old daughter Nora from pre-school.

The security is one of the visible changes taken by the Council Bluffs School District after the Sandy Hook tragedy.

"We're taking this opportunity to say, 'What can we do that's even better so the kids inside these buildings are as protected as can be,'" said Diane Ostrowski with Council Bluffs schools.

College View elementary is less than two years old so it certainly has plenty of newer security measures. One it didn't have is a buzzer system at the front entrance with a camera. It does now.

"A buzzer by the front," said 3rd grader Stevie Barnes, who is describing the process, "You ask to be let in and they say, 'Just a moment - and please walk through the doors.'"

Many parents understand the inconvenience of locked doors is acceptable because it's done for the right reasons.

"It was nice to see some change that people took seriously and thought, 'Let's be proactive and move forward!' -- and that made me feel good as a parent," said parent Steve Barnes.

Many of the changes are taking place at elementary schools. The high schools and middle schools have armed school resource officers stationed at the buildings.


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