Door alarms to be added at Waterloo schools - KWWL - Eastern Iowa Breaking News, Weather, Closings

Door alarms to be added at Waterloo schools

WATERLOO (KWWL)--- The Waterloo Community School District is stepping up security.  As we reported Monday night, the school board approved a measure to install new security alarms at Kittrell Elementary and at West Elementary School.  This comes on the heels of a May incident when two kindergartners walked away from Kittrell.  The district was already considering ways to improve security at school buildings when that happened. And now, action is being taken in hopes of preventing future problems.

Inside and out, Kittrell Elementary looks like your typical school building.  But soon, it will include some safety devices that aren't currently found in any of the district's buildings.  Alarms will be added to doors that lead outside from classroom areas.

"When these buildings were designed, exits were added mainly for convenience, namely access to restrooms and the playground area, and for an emergency exit.  So we're going to limit their use to emergencies only and put audible alarms on them," said Sharon Miller, spokesperson for Waterloo Community Schools.

The alarms will sound off any time the door is opened.  Looking at one particular area, it's easy to see how two curious kindergartners escaped.  This storage and restroom area is used by kids all the time. And the exit door can't be seen by anyone.  That's because the door leading back to the classroom is solid wood.

"There's some facility changes we can make to give teachers complete view of what's going on at all times," Miller said.

That will happen with the addition of windows to these doors which will allow educators to keep students in sight, while also giving them an alarming reason to stay inside.

The district is also planning to beef up staff and substitute teacher training to ensure students are accounted for at all times.  That process could even include drills for staff to practice student escape response.

KWWL Reporter: Kera Mashek


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