SAND SPRINGS - Wednesday marks the fourth anniversary of the Sandy Hook massacre. Some 20 children and six educators were shot and killed by a former student. Since, schools across the country have looked for ways to increase security. One of those is Garfield Elementary in Sand Springs.
Class is over. Chairs are stacked on desks and markers are put away. Although the bell has rung, a somber anniversary still haunts first grade teacher Amber Alexander.
"I was in first grade and that's why I remember that she [the teacher] was stuffing kids in the cabinets and just trying to hide them anywhere she could hide them," she said.
A 20-year-old gunman, Adam Lanza, shot his way into Sandy Hook Elementary four years ago. A total of 26 people died and 20 of those were children.
"I could just imagine going through that and having those little faces look up to you and saying, 'Just listen to me and do it,'" the first grade teacher said.
Garfield Elementary in Sand Springs increased security measures this year. It's called Lobby Guard. It scans your driver's license and automatically runs a background check. It detects if someone is a sex offender.
"If it pops up, it gives us a red flag," secretary Debra Bennett said. "We verify that that is or is not the same person and then once we figure that out, we can let them through."
All information is stored in this device and it's reported to sand springs police department. Longtime secretary Debra Bennett says she's ready in case this machine can't stop an intruder.
"I'm the first line of defense and if that means something is going to happen to me before they can get to them, then that's what it's going to be," she said.
As Amber Alexander stares at her empty classroom, the fear lingers in the back of her mind. But knowing there's a little extra protection, helps her keep her mind on the kids.
In May 2015, a bill passed that allowed school districts to decide if teachers and staff members could carry a gun on school property. Sand Springs doesn't have that implemented within the district.
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