Howard County Schools Stepping Up Security After Newtown Shootings

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Ileto Christie 370x278 (2) Christie Ileto
Christie Ileto joined WJZ's News Team in the fall of 2012. She was...
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HOWARD COUNTY, Md. (WJZ) — Howard County school leaders are stepping up security to help keep students safe. The upgrades are recommendations from the district’s school safety task force that formed days after the Newtown school shootings.

Christie Ileto explains the changes being made.

New buzzing, badging and computer systems are just some of the new security measures being put in place at Howard County schools to make sure your child is safe.

Effective immediately, security cameras in Howard County schools are now connected to the county’s 911 center.

“God forbid we have a school shooting, we can now, as officers are responding, as information is still coming into our dispatchers, those dispatchers can pull up those cameras and start giving our officers real-time information,” said Chief William McMahon, Howard County Police.

County leaders unveiled the new system Friday.

The upgrade is one of many changes recommended by the school district’s safety task force that met days after the Sandy Hook school shootings in Connecticut last December. Twenty-six people, including 20 children, were gunned down by Adam Lanza.

“That is our number one job, not only to educate the next generation, but to provide a safe, nurturing environment for that education to take place,” said Howard County Executive Ken Ulman.

Other security measures being put in place include new buzzer and badging systems, improved emergency training for teachers and staff and mental health resources.

Parents like Serena DeBoard say the extra security keeps out people who shouldn’t be inside the schools.

“They screen people once they enter, they have to ring a buzzer. Then they ask who it is and before they go any further they can see them on camera,” she said.

More protection means peace of mind for parents and extra layers of security that make even the district’s youngest learners that much safer.

Some of the security measures are already in place. Those that aren’t will be by the end of this year or by the middle of 2014.

State and local dollars are footing the $1 million bill for the buzzer, badging and camera systems.

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