Waseca Schools upgrading security weeks before threat

WASECA, Minn. - Students in Waseca Public Schools head back to class tomorrow. And still, there are many unanswered questions after a student was arrested for allegedly planning to kill his family, set off bombs and unload gunfire at the city's Junior and Senior High schools.

The district's superintendent, Tom Lee, said plans were already underway to enhance security across the district. Friday the sound of a drill echoed through the halls of Hartley Elementary School as crews began the process to install a security camera and an intercom. Hartley is the same school where investigators say John LaDue set off practice bombs. Those bombs, one which failed to detonate, were discovered in March.

And that was right around the same time the district took steps to install a visitor management tracking system at the elementary school. The device requires visitors to swipe their ID. Once they swipe, the program can display a person's criminal background, school records and other information.

But that's not all. Crews started installing a new security door at the elementary school Friday. Lee, said that was "already planned."

That door will use a special electronic lock, allowing only staff to unlock the door for visitors.

"Our immediate need is to take care of kids come Monday. What is important is that the families know that it is safe," he said. "The threat has been removed and it is safe to return to school."

And even after Monday, Lee says the district will have counselors in place for students struggling emotionally.

Before discovering LaDue's alleged attack, Lee said the district had planned to participate in a county-wide training course to help prevent and prepare for an active shooter situation. Homeland Security later in the summer.

The district is also in the process of installing software that will convert its crisis plan from a paper manual to an app. Lee said the tool will make it easier for teachers and administrators to better prepare for emergencies.

"It is very disturbing and alarming. On the other hand, it is not tragic," Lee said." Someone who had plans to do great damage got caught."


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