Iowa school security after Columbine - KWWL - Eastern Iowa Breaking News, Weather, Closings

Iowa school security after Columbine

Dubuque (KWWL) -- On the tenth anniversary of the Columbine shooting in Littleton, Colorado when two students killed 13 people before killing themselves, we talk to local school officials about school safety and security.

In the last ten years, school administrators we talked to at Hempstead High School say they've added a lot of security measures, though they say it's not just a reaction to columbine, but an indication of adapting to a changing culture.

At Hempstead the first place you'll notice security is right when you walk in the door. Only one outside door is unlocked where you have to check in.

Farther inside, there's more; many improvements thanks to a recent renovation.

"All of our classrooms have lockable doors," Assistant Principal Shane Oswald said.

Before the renovations, there were no doors on classrooms. Fire doors are also new, with activation sensors on staff name badges.

"The doors are going to be locked, and we're allowed to lock down the building this way much quicker."

Other safety measures include: more ways to access classrooms, widened hallways, windows in classrooms, a security camera, and school resource officers.

Another change in the last decade: just like a fire or tornado drill, students now have "lockdown drills". The drills are usually used for something like a canine drug dog search, but could also be used for an emergency -- like an intruder.

"I think what Columbine did is really heighten the awareness of school safety and bring it to the front so we could have a dialogue about it," Oswald said.

And in talking school safety, administrators say the most important thing is staying ahead of problems, not behind.

"Is it reactive? Not so much. We just want to make sure we're protecting our students," Oswald said.

Senior High School uses multiple security cameras on its campus. Hempstead has one camera, but administrators say they hope to add around 15 more cameras in the near future.

Online Reporter:  Jamie Grey

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