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Districts look to beef up school safety with panic buttons, bullet-proof glass

In the wake of the Newtown shootings, many schools are taking measures to beef-up security.

By Charyn Pfeuffer - MSN Living Editor Jan 8, 2013 7:28PM

Not surprisingly, school districts across the country are taking a closer look at their security plans in the wake of the Connecticut mass shooting. Talks range from installing panic buttons and bullet-proof glass to evaluating safety procedures and running extra lockdown drills.

Photo: Steve Hamblin/AlamyIn Connecticut, 850 school and police officials, as well as parents, school board members and others met in Southington on Monday to gain insights from national experts about how to make schools more secure, reports The Hartford Courant.

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Joseph Cirasuolo, executive director of the Connecticut Association of Public School Superintendents, one of the groups that organized the conference, was quoted "We just want to make sure people know what the facts are on a variety of issues, to help them have an informed conversation instead of one overridden by emotion."

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Although the West Hartford School District already has a buzzer entry system and cameras in place, they’re headed toward installing a panic button, which if pressed, would alert teachers of the need to lock down certain sections of the building and summon the police.

Jennings Smith, a Canton-based firm that provides school security services, has experienced a swell in interest since the Newtown shooting. Owner Bill Smith said that starting on the night of the tragedy, he has gotten calls from districts all across the country.

But, a creating good security plan is a complicated undertaking. It requires hardware and other security products, as well as the human element of people, policies and procedures, Smith said. It’s also important to take a "reasoned approach,” Smith was quoted. “You can ramp up to the point where you start making schools look like correctional facilities.”

What measures do you think schools should (or shouldn’t) take to increase security?

Bing: School safety tips

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Photo: Steve Hamblin/Alamy

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Jan 15, 2013 11:05PM
Yes! a sensible working plan, similar to planning for fire drills.  They don't happen often, but interventions are in place anyhow.  The security of a plan is there, so you can get on with the business of learning without having the feel of being in a correctional facility.

Training teachers to use firearms seems a bit over the top.

Jan 15, 2013 6:51PM
This was due to happen as school officials allowed bullying to take place over the years creating an evolving environment for violence. Well thought out, common sense plans will do rather than some emotionally charged hysterical reactions to the problem.
Jan 10, 2013 10:30PM

Ok.....Guns are not the answer, panic buttons are not the answer, you can't stop crazy.

But if our country truly supported education, we would have funding to support necessary services. Services such as counseling, in school and after school activities, and without question a school resource officer at every school site in the country.  The key is prevention. Maybe through community connections something might have been discovered, solved, or prevented. Maybe mom or the crazy young man that did this horrible act might have sought help. Again, you can't stop crazy, but you sure may be able to prevent or deter.



Jan 9, 2013 2:17PM
What you do not understand is that these maniacs who are determined to shoot dozens of people do not care whether an area is "gun-free" or not.  They want to be killed themselves.  If they don't get shot by the time the cops reach the scene, they shoot themselves.  Their lives have no meaning to them.  So they don't care if an area is full of other gun-toting psychos, they will go into it with guns blazing.  Arming teachers won't stop these guys.  They want to die and bring down as many other people with them as possible.  That is their goal, their ambition.  They aren't interested in just shooting people who cannot protect themselves.  So that "gun-free zones are targeted" argument doesn't hold water.
Jan 9, 2013 2:14PM
The guns used by the shooter at Virginia Tech were purchased over the Internet.  They were handguns.  But I am sure you will correct me if I am wrong.  By the way, Alex Jones is the best argument for Gun Control that I have ever seen!!!  He and Ted Nugent are NOT doing you gun-loving freaks any favors.
Jan 9, 2013 12:58PM
The pryor facts show that these creeps are targeting gun free zones. I think even a sign avertising armed guards would maybe help keep them away.
Jan 9, 2013 1:40AM
Does everyone know about the Colorado Theatre shooting?  Were you also aware there were 5 closer theatres he could have gone to but didn't?  Do you know why?

The one he went too was the closest one that had a sign stating "No Guns Allowed".  He knew he wouldn't be met with any resistance.

Get rid of Gun Free Zones so this kind of tragedy stops.

Jan 9, 2013 1:26AM
Almost all doors at schools have 'panic bar' type door hardware. If all egresses but one, the main door, were secured, students could escape in an emergency and nutcases would need to walk through the front door, which could be gaurded by volunteers from the comunity. I am sure there are plenty of persons who would be happy to sit or stand inside the front door of a school for a few hours at a time and make sure that no bad guys came in. Perhaps even these people could be armed, but they would need to be trained. Former military would be perfectly suited for this.
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