The school massacre in Connecticut has prompted security changes at a metro Omaha school district.
Front doors to all 18 schools in the Papillion-La Vista Schools will be locked during the school day, and visitors will have to be let in, under a new policy taking effect Feb. 19.
Employees will monitor the entrances, opening doors for visitors and making sure they are checked in, Communication Director Annette Eyman said.
The door will be opened for all visitors, but they will be directed to check in at the front office, she said.
The policy is an interim effort to improve security until district officials can install buzzer entry systems at every school, she said.
Buzzer installation could begin this school year and may take as long as a year to complete, she said. The buzzers will be paid for out of the general fund budget.
Eyman said the policy, approved by Superintendent Rick Black with the consent of the school board, is a response to concern from parents and staff.
School officials know the policy will inconvenience parents, but it could save time in an emergency, she said.
Although a determined intruder may still gain access, “it may buy us 30 seconds, which could potentially save someone's life,” she said.
Eyman said district administrators felt they had to tighten security in light of the Connecticut massacre. Getting into the district's buildings is too easy, she said.
On Dec. 14, 20-year-old Adam Lanza shot his way into Sandy Hook Elementary School in Newtown, Conn., and shot to death 20 students and six staff members before killing himself.
Papillion-La Vista has 14 elementary schools, two middle schools and two high schools.
Buzz-in systems are common in metro Omaha schools.
» All of the Elkhorn district's buildings lock their front doors after students arrive and require visitors to be buzzed in.
» Westside Community Schools has buzz-in systems at all of its schools.
» Most if not all Catholic schools in the Omaha area have systems that require visitors to be buzzed in or use a pass code or pass card to enter during the school day.
» Some but not all of Millard's schools have buzz-in entries. The failed 2011 bond issue would have made them standard in the district.
» All Omaha Public Schools elementary schools either have buzzers or a security officer or staff member monitoring the building's unlocked entrances.
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