Bloomington schools release security recommendations

9:08 AM, May 1, 2013   |    comments
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BLOOMINGTON, Minn. -- It was just days after the Newtown, Conn. school shootings that school officials in Bloomington started working on the future.

They knew school safety could no longer take a back seat, so the district launched a four-month safety and security study that has produced several recommendations.

The study recommends renovating the entryways to each school in the district making it harder for people to gain entrance to the school while it's in session.

"When the school day starts, those initial doors will remain open. Your second set of doors are now locked, and what you do now is you're forcing people into an office," says Rick Kaufman, the district Director of Communications and Emergency Management.

Kaufman also served as the head of the crisis response team in Columbine.

"We want to move to a web-based sign-in that can go to a national database that can look for non-custodial parents, sex offenders, pedophiles, things of those sorts," says Kaufman of the new recommended check-in system.

Making the office the first line of defense was among the suggestions that came out of the study. Every extra moment the intruder takes to gain access to the school, could be potentially a life saved.

Duress buttons in the main office would also lock fire doors around the building, again helping to create a barrier to an intruder and buy time for police to arrive on the scene.

Classroom doors that lock from the inside, extra cameras in the halls and emergency response training for staff are all part of what Bloomington is asking for. But, before any of it can happen, it must first get past the Bloomington School Board, who will likely question how to pay for the changes.

"Adopt the recommendations and now we look at how we finance this. And referendum may be the only option we have for the kind of costs we're looking at," says Kaufman.

How much are we talking? He says it will run between $4 and $7 million district wide. Federal money could possibly pay for things like training, but not for renovations.

The school board meets again on May 13.

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