Secure Schools

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One day after an intruder walks into a Wichita school, parents ask if it’s time to lock down public schools.

You go to about any school and you’ll see signs warning visitors to check in at the office. But those are for the good guys. Criminals don’t follow rules.

School officials say they are thinking about that, planning for ways to prevent crisis wherever possible.

The director of school safety for Wichita schools, Galen Davis, says Wichita schools try to find a balance between being open because they serve the public, yet secure and safe to prevent crisis.

Davis says that most schools keep the main entrance unlocked and have the side entrances locked with a sign telling people to use the open entrance.

But the entrances to some of the older schools aren’t always next to the office. Some school offices are even on a different floor than the entrance is.

Davis says he works with building principals encouraging them to lock as many doors as possible to those on the outside. But he doesn’t believe it’s practical to lock all of the doors.

On the other hand, in the Maize school district once the kids are in, the doors are locked and visitors either have to be buzzed through a locked door or go into a foyer that leads directly to the school’s office.

Maize South Principal John Blazek says that school safety is his primary concern every day. He says, “I feel I’m very fortunate to have outstanding teachers and I’ve got to provide a safe environment for our kids to get home each day.”

The Maize school is new, built during these times of insecurity, with more security in mind.

Something Wichita schools will be adding are security cameras at all the schools. A federal grant is providing for those to try to keep an eye out on the bad guys.

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