Providing "Lock Down" for Hamilton Co. Schools Would Be Expensive

Reported by: Bill Mitchell

Edited by: David Moore
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Updated: 1/22 6:47 pm
HAMILTON COUNTY, TN. (WDEF-TV) - We don't like to think about someone intentionally harming a child in school.
But, it has happened, as you know.
The result is heightened security at most schools nationwide.
But, in Hamilton county, some security systems are better than others.

As most parents know, you don't just casually walk into schools anymore.
Most of the doors are locked, and visitors have to check in.
But overall security varies school to school.

GARY WATERS. ASST. SUPT., HCDE "I hope its something that deserves a lot of consideration by the board, because you're talking about a major change."

The facilities committee of the Hamilton county school board talked about the varying levels of security at this weeks meeting.

DR. GREG MARTIN, SCHOOLBOARD MEMBER "From a safety point of view, its just off the chain, there is, there is no plan..I don't know how you can have a plan when you have so many individualized buildings."

JILL LEVINE, PRINCIPAL, NORMAL PARK MAGNET SCHOOL "There are old schools, like this one, with many windows and doors, and there are newer schools that were built with security in mind."

There was an incident last week in the district in which a person, not on school grounds, fired a shot into the air.
Two schools immediately locked-down according to procedure.
But controlling school entrances is not an easy matter.

GARY WATERS, ASST. SUPT., HCDE " We encourage public access, we encourage parent participation,but you're really talking about restricting a lot of movement".

And there are 115 portables in the district, presenting a separate security issue.

MIKE EVATT, CHAIRMAN , HAMILTON CO,SCHOOL BOARD "It could be a very expensive,very expensive item,but it's something we need to be pro-active in..and at least know what our costs are going to be."

JILL LEVINE "I think for every principal,safety of our students is absolutely the first thing on our minds all the time."

Although most Hamilton county schools don't have cameras or automatic door locks, they all have emergency procedures in case of storms, fires or intruders.
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