Rapid City schools beef up security - KOTA Territory News

Rapid City schools beef up security

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More than two weeks have passed since the tragedy at Sandy Hook Elementary. And after some time to reflect on the incident, Rapid City Area Schools Superintendent Dr. Tim Mitchell says money has been set aside to beef up security at some Rapid City schools this year.

Other KOTA Territory schools have already added extra security measures due to past school shootings.

When it comes to school security, entrances are key, and some of Rapid City's older school buildings may not be up to par. "We're taking a look at our capital projects for next year and dedicating about $150,000, take a look at the keyless entries that lock down doors, security cameras instantiation, and also buzzing entry," said Mitchell.

All of which are measures already in place at Douglas High School in Box Elder. "We think we're in a great position as far as keeping our students safe on a daily basis," said Douglas High School Principal Bud Gusso.

Gusso says security cameras have already been useful at the school. "It allows us to prevent incidents by making sure that the cameras are visible and it certainly has done that," said Gusso.

And their keyless entry system is important as well. "The entire district can be locked down simultaneously with just the flip of a switch," said Gusso.

"School shootings of the past alerted us or you know made us want to increase these security measures," said Douglas Schools Superintendent Dr. Loren Scheer.  He says increased security does more than just add to students physical safety, "Adding these types of security measures also reminds us that it's important to keep our kids safe and to show them that it's important that we want to keep them safe," said Scheer.

And Gusso says there are some precautions that don't cost a pretty penny "We really believe that security starts with a visible presence and that happens right away in the morning," said Gusso. "By the time a student enters our building you should see approximately three, four, maybe even five staff members before you get into the academic hallways."

So to add physical safety and bring peace of mind to students, parents, and staff, some changes will have to be made. "Still the safest place for kids to be is in school, but when these horrific events happen we need to analyze them, we need to figure out what is the best move; you don't want to under react and you don't want to overreact," said Mitchell.

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