The aftermath of the Sandy Hook school massacre has brought tighter security to one of the region’s largest schools.
Mason High School, with more than 3,300 students, already uses dozens of security cameras, monitoring devices and an on-site security station to secure its 206 classrooms.
But the shooting deaths of 26 children and adults at the Newtown, Conn., elementary school last month prompted Mason officials to pilot-test a background checking system requiring all visitors to hand over a valid ID before entering the school.
“The tragedy caused many people to think hard about how to make schools safer. We wanted to do a better job at checking visitors’ IDs,” said Tracey Carson, spokeswoman for Mason City School District.
Officials at the school now run background checks on visitors in a matter of minutes or less before allowing access beyond the main entrance’s reception desk.
“We’re also meeting with the city of Mason’s police chief and safety director to go over additional ways to make our schools safer, and we’re listening to ideas that our parents have shared,” Carson said.
“Some of the measures we have in place now include a robust system of electronic camera surveillance that helps us intervene into situations that we might not otherwise know about.”
Mason High School parent Merle Coyle said she appreciates another security layer.
“It’s a wonderful addition,” Coyle said.
“I’ve always been impressed with how diligent our district is and how they are always looking for ways to strengthen school security.”
School officials say they will continue to explore other security upgrades, some based on public input.
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