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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?

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Photo: Steve Hamblin/Alamy

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