Summer changes beef up school security

Some schools are tearing down walls to rebuild a more secure area.
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From doorways to hallways, schools are out for summer, but some are in for a major change.

Some school districts are spending millions of dollars for immediate protection against an attack.

For students, a laid back summer. But for schools, it was a different story.

"Soon as school let out and sometimes when the teachers were pulling out of the parking lot, the construction guys were coming in," said Michael Beresford, Hamilton Southeastern Schools.

His district and others will still train students to flee or fight an intruder if need be. They'll still pay police to patrol halls system wide.

Now, they're tearing down and putting up walls, all in response to violence at schools and public places in the last year.

"I always had to be buzzed in," says Kim Greiner, an elementary student's mom in Fishers.

But something always bothered her when she volunteered at school.

"You had the ability to bypass the office completely and walk wherever you wanted," Greiner said.

Not anymore.

At New Britton Elementary and soon all the other schools in the district, entrances will be more secure.

Beresford showed Eyewitness News the current hallway.

"It will be right here," he said, talking about a new doorway in the entry hall. "So when people come into the building, it will be a secure vestibule right here. So this wall will be filled all the way to this pillar."

Visitors must be buzzed into the office, then buzzed through a second door into the classroom area of the school. But only after their IDs are checked.

"I think it would help everyone feel more comfortable," said high school student Tracy Everard. "So you know strangers are not coming into the school that you don't want there."

"I think we probably need better security," said student Corey Lee.

Hardened entrances are also coming to schools from Lebanon to Center Grove, with new security cameras, too.

Center Grove is spending tens of thousands to change door locks so classrooms can be locked from inside. Fire codes once prohibited that.

But all the security upgrades have to work in concert with people - parents, staff and students.

"I've always told kids they are the eyes and ears of the school. You want a safe school, it's up to you," Beresford said.

Some districts are financing the upgrades with special referendums. Others dipping into their budgets. Hamilton Southeastern even got a grant from Stanley Security.