Schools increase safety measures

OMAHA, Neb. (WOWT) - School threats have become more common, and active shooter statistics are on the rise.

Sandy Hook Elementary was evacuated on Friday for a bomb threat exactly six years after the massacre that left 26 at the school dead.

Schools have worked to make security improvements so that something like the Sandy Hook shooting can't happen again, including several metro buildings.

Bennington Middle School, which is only two years old, was built around safety for the students.

The school is armed with security cameras, doors with timed key cards and a plan in case anything would go wrong.

Each classroom has a backpack that contains an emergency plan for everything from a lock-in to an active shooting scenario.

The students use Chrome Books, which can act as another line of defense.

"If the kid is Googling self-harm, or guns or bombs, things like that, it flags it and we get an email and we can look into that situation," school principal Shawn Hoppes said.

Superintendent of Bennington Schools Terry Haack said that the steps create a more secure situation for them, including the most recent addition of a school resource officer.

"This gives people the opportunity, kids in particular, the opportunity to ask police officers questions to develop a relationship to see a police officer isn't a bad thing, but a resource," Haack said.

The superintendent said that the safety plan isn't about the equipment, but about the people.

Edison Elementary in Council Bluffs has also put security measures in place.

The first line of defense is at the front door, which is always locked. Guests have to be buzzed in or have a key card.

"There have been things throughout the country that are scare. We have really tried to be in front of that," Tim Hamilton with Council Bluffs Public Schools said.

The elementary school also uses the "T-Pass Visitor Management System." Guest information is sent to the computer and read.

"What that does, it goes through the sex offender registry of every state," Hamilton explained.

Once the check is complete, a photo is taken and the visitor is given a printed badge.

Both schools said they have their best safety measures in place to hopefully prevent something happening like happened six years ago in Connecticut.