Schools across central Indiana beef up security


Schools across central Indiana are making changes to keep students safe a month after the tragedy at Sandy Hook Elementary.

Installing electronic remote-controlled locks, allowing schools to check parents and other visitors more thoroughly, will cost Franklin about $40,000.

"I think anybody with common sense would be willing to put up with an inconvenience in order to keep children safe," said Steve Skirvin, parent.

Zionsville is upgrading the entrance security on all of its schools, along with a buzz-in system, cameras will photograph everyone.

The lobby of the New Augusta Academy in Pike Township is being rebuilt to restrict visitor access.

To keep children safe, schools are looking at new as well as time-tested security measures.

At Mount Comfort Elementary, the interior doors have been locked routinely for years. Visitors must enter through the office and pass a criminal background check. Driver's licenses are scanned, compared to sex offender registries and a school system watch list. If everything's okay, visitors are issued a pass.

"We have a copy of this plus a copy of your license in our system," said Heather Whitaker, principal, referring to the hall pass she had just printed out.

If someone comes through without a valid pass, alarms sound and the principal is notified that someone was "voided" - meaning they didn't pass the Lobby Guard system. The idea is to prevent someone from entering the school unsupervised.

Parent Becky Runyon thinks the added security and scrutiny is justified.

"I'm glad for my kids' sake. I don't want anybody to be able to get in and out of the building so I don't mind taking the extra time to do it," said Runyon, who frequently volunteers at her children's school.