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Examiner
  • Fort Osage security upgrades mostly in place

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  • Parents and community members will notice a different entry process into Fort Osage schools this fall, and it might not be as quick and easy as in the past. The Fort Osage Board of Education heard about the security upgrades and new entry steps during Tuesday’s Fort Osage Board of Education meeting. The security upgrades are part of several summer projects that were completed this summer. “All of the projects with regards to safety and security have been completed,” said Stephanie Smith, director of public relations for the Fort Osage School District. “That is with the exception of camera installation and other items on the exterior of the building.” What visitors to district buildings will now see is a “buzz-in system.” This requires visitors to be buzzed in by someone in the front office before entering the building. For parents, volunteers and others wishing to access the school, there will be some changes. First, a visitor will need to push a button that will ring in the front office. The exterior doors will be locked. Then the visitor will need to show identification such as a driver’s license. They will then need to state their purpose for entering the school. Once buzzed in, they will need to go to the front office before accessing any other area of the school. In the office, they might be required to show their identification for a second time before being allowed to go to the necessary area or checking a student out. For those in the Fort Discovery program, an access card will be issued to check a child in and out of the program. “For those parents that are at a the school often or for those weekly volunteers, they might not have to show their identification a second time,” Smith said. “What we are doing right now is reminding parents about this new process and to encourage them to allow for a little more time than in the past to pick up a child.” In addition to the new entry process, there will be extra cameras installed on the interior and exterior of the building, intercoms in all the classrooms and greater control of interior doors. All of these additional security enhancements are as a result of the mass shooting at a Newtown, Conn., elementary school in December 2012. A gunman forced his way into the building, killing almost 30 teachers and students before turning the gun on himself. “Informally, people have expressed their excitement that the system is in place,” Smith said. “With school just starting, most have not had the opportunity to see how it full functions, so we will get a better indication of what people think in the next few weeks.”
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