COLORADO SPRINGS, Colo. (KKTV) - As students get ready for their first full week back in class, Harrison School District 2 is making sure the students return to safer schools.
With the help of two grants, the district improved its camera and radio system at all schools and made elementary school entrances more secure.
“We had a short summer, but our team did a great job,” said Robert Erspamer, the district’s safety and security director. “The radios have already been distributed. The cameras are all installed.”
All schools also have a second lockdown button.
“We’re always looking at upgrades. As security evolves, we need to keep up with technology,” Erspamer said.
D-2 won $81,447 from the Colorado Division of Homeland Security and Emergency Management as part of the School Security Disbursement grant program, which provided funding for the radios, cameras and lockdown buttons.
The district also won $439,318 from the Colorado Department of Education’s BEST grant, which the district has to match, to improve security at all 14 of its elementary school entrances.
“It allows just another barrier before you enter our hallways in all our elementary schools,” Erspamer said.
Right now, visitors have to be buzzed in the front doors and then they’re supposed to check in at the main office, but that doesn’t always happen, according to Erspamer. With the increased security, another barrier will be added that forces people to filter through the main office before they can be buzzed into the school area.
At Stratton Meadows Elementary, an additional set of secure doors was added that visitors have to be buzzed through after checking in at the office. The doors were installed over the summer. The district says similar security measures will be installed at the remainder of the 14 elementary schools throughout the school year.
“There tends to be an emphasis on middle and high schools with security,” Erspamer said. “We have SROs at the high schools and middle schools and security officers. This adds a layer of security to the elementary schools that we didn’t have before.”
The district also updated its system that scans visitors’ driver’s licenses when they check in.
“This is an updated version,” Erspamer said. “So it’s a better version.”
D-2 says parents should have peace of mind sending their kids off to school.
“I think they should feel great,” Erspamer said. “We’re always working to improve, and we can always improve, but this a big step in that direction.”