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Published February 25, 2013, 05:44 PM

Jamestown schools in pre-stages to make big changes in security

Jamestown, ND (WDAY TV) - School administrators in Jamestown are considering security changes at all buildings district-wide.

By: Kay Cooley, WDAY Staff Reports, WDAY

Jamestown, ND (WDAY TV) - School administrators in Jamestown are considering security changes at all buildings district-wide.

They're looking into adding security cameras, buzzers, and panic buttons after realizing mass shootings like the massacre in Newtown, Connecticut can happen anywhere.

A few security changes may make a lifetime of difference, keeping gunmen out of schools like Jamestown's Gussner elementary.

Bob Toso, Superintendent: "This country needs to have a conversation as to why these things are happening."

Toso has started his own conversation district wide, trying to strengthen school safety after mass shootings like Sandy Hook, when 20 students and six staff members lost their lives last December.

Toso: "When you start hearing about Kindergarten kids being killed, that's just sick."

Peg Wagner, Gussner Elem. Principal: "I think Sandy Hook showed us that it can also happen in our elementary schools."

Several school officials are trying to increase security tactics at the high school and middle school and bring more into the district's five elementary schools.

They're hoping to install cameras at entrances and in hallways, a buzzer at the door and panic button in case of emergencies, and keep all doors locked all day long.

Toso: "Everybody says this can't happen here, we're a safe place. That rang true so much."

Although you can't keep people out completely, the object would be to at least slow them down, before they make it into hallways or ultimately classrooms.

Toso: "We have to show the public that we're going to do everything we can to make the schools as safe as we can."

Right now the ideas are only in the initial stages, but the discussion alone acts as a step towards a safer learning environment beginning next school year.

Wagner: "We want to make sure that parents know we're not going to take it lightly."

Costs are estimated at roughly $100,000.

Administrators are in process of putting together a proposal for the school board. Any work will most likely be done this summer.

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