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Green Country schools use technology to prepare for the worst

Posted at 11:55 AM, Aug 27, 2018
and last updated 2018-08-27 21:42:37-04

SAND SPRINGS, Okla. -- In the wake of recent school shootings, campuses in Oklahoma are looking to see how they can be one step ahead.

They tell 2 Works for You this is an ongoing conversation, to be prepared for any worst case scenario.

Jenks Public Schools is re-evaluating, looking at any potential holes in safety. They installed a second set of doors on every campus this summer, preventing people from walking inside unnoticed.

"We'll have kids that if they see somebody on campus that they don't know they tend to have a reaction because they've seen the news. So I think that may be one of the biggest advantages that isn't the one we first think of, and that's the emotional security of our kiddos," Jenks East Intermediate School principal Linda Reid said.

It's a system Sand Springs has had in place for the last few years. A single, monitored entrance into the lobby. Once inside, both schools rely on Lobby Guard. The program scans a visitor's driver's license, running an immediate background check.

A badge is only printed for those who pass. Failed checks are emailed to staff, and the intruder is asked to leave.

"Every school shooting it seems like something else new comes up. Another threat, another way in, another hole in our security system comes up. So that's the hopeless feeling. Feeling like you're always running a step behind," Charles Page High School principal Stan Trout said.

Districts like Jenks and Sand Springs have developed safety committees. They meet monthly to discuss new technology: things like devices that can be put under doors or across doorknobs.

"We had to make some changes as things changed around us in the country. So we've looked into things that have been successful in some areas and then tried to adapt those here," Sand Springs Safety Committee Chair JJ Smith said.

Once on campus, Charles Page High School students may be required to wear identification. It's something school administrators are considering this year.

In the meantime, Sand Springs will launch a new app this year called Crisis Go. It sends push alerts to staff during an incident. Teachers will also be able to access a student roster.

The app also has a 9-1-1 button to contact police. As they wait for officers to arrive, schools like Charles Page rely on more than 60 security cameras, monitored constantly in the assistant principal's office.

Osage Hills Public Schools is taking safety one step further. This year a ballistic shelter was installed in every classroom, 13 in total. A set up like this does not come cheap. Every shelter in the school costs around $12,000. For this district, located in Oklahoma's largest county, it's all about timing.

"It could take as much as 40 or 45 minutes for somebody to get here," superintendent Jeannie O'Daniel said.

Even if they relied on Bartlesville Police, school staff said that could take up to 15 minutes.

"Immediate lockdown goes into effect, kids could be in the shelter in 30 seconds," SchoolSafe Modular Shelters president  Charlie Willsey said.

The shelters at Osage Hills are "level 2" ballistic proof, and could withstand shots from a handgun.

"The doors are locked, and the kids are shepherded in to the shelters and the doors lock from the inside so you have immediate protection here and a barrier at the door," SchoolSafe Modular Shelters education consultant Ed Huckeby said.

SchoolSafe continues to talk to schools across Oklahoma, as they develop even stronger shelters that would hold up against just about anything.

From the shelters to the cameras and doors, administrators tell 2 Works for You bond measures paid for all the technology. They plan to propose more bonds to stay ahead of the curve in the years ahead.

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