1 year after Parkland, schools amp up security

This article originally appeared on WNEM 5 News. To view the original article, click here.

It has been one year since 17 people were killed and another 17 were injured after a gunman stormed the halls of Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School in Parkland, Florida.

The massacre in Parkland occurred over the span of just five minutes.

It was so quick and lethal it sent school districts scrambling for their own solutions.

“The entire action at Parkland was five minutes long. In five minutes for so much to have occurred, it just made us realize how precious response time is,” Essexville-Hampton Public Schools Superintendent Matthew Cortez said.

Superintendents say the shooting that killed 17 opened eyes nationwide on school security.

“When Parkland happened, we realized the vulnerability that our Garber High School faced. We had glass doors and glass panes at the front of the school,” Cortez said.

Now they are made of fiber glass resistant material.

“It is a very secured front entrance,” Cortez said.

Cortez said since Parkland, all their buildings have secured front lobbies and the district is hiring a police officer.

“I signed the final contract today with Essexville Public Safety,” Cortez said.

Nearby, Bay City Public Schools are using a $500,000 grant to up their security.

“We have the ability to lock a building down with the push of a button,” Superintendent Stephen Bigelow said.

Bigelow said the biggest change over the past year is in technology. They are working on a new system called Raptor.

“It allows us to do moment by moment background checks. We actually scan in their identification and it checks the database,” Bigelow said.

Those background checks will begin if somebody visits the school.

“The only way you’re getting into that building is one entrance, where you also need to be buzzed into an office area. We have cameras on those areas making sure it’s safe and that’s where you go through the identification protocol,” Bigelow said.

The Raptor system will go live in August. The district is also adding more cameras.

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