Davenport Schools Stepping Up Security - News and Weather For The Quad Cities -

Davenport Schools Stepping Up Security

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The Davenport school district is moving up the deadline to increase security after the tragedy in Connecticut. School leaders had already planned to increase security, but now they're hoping to get it done sooner. They say the district has 30 buildings and they are moving up work to secure entrances at the remaining 6 schools. The cost for these updates will be about $575,000 and they will be done by summer.

Classrooms will also get intruder locks. Those are dead bolts teachers can lock from inside their classroom. There are just over 1,000 classrooms that still need this and it will cost $275,000. There are also plans to update several systems that are already in place. That includes camera upgrades and installations and a secure intercom system, as well as upgrades to doors and windows.

"Certainly since Columbine the nation has been looking into what we can do for security. That was unthinkable and what happened in Connecticut was equally unthinkable," Superintendent Dr. Arthur Tate said.

"Each time things like that happen you just sit back and just talk about, are there things we can do a little bit sooner?"

Tate says all of the upgrades will cost about $250,000 a year for the next four to five years. He says most of the money is already set aside. It comes from a local option sales tax that can only be used for building maintenance. Meanwhile, parents say they are glad to see the school stepping up its efforts.

"I think they could be a lot more secure right now," Parent James Morris said.

"I've even walked into the school before and no one has asked me anything, you know, and I just think it would be safer if we do something to protect all of our kids."

However, Morris says upgrading security is not the only answer to protecting kids.

"I think what is going to make kids safer is if more parents get involved with their kids and teach them the right way to be as a kid and they'll grow up that way," Morris said.

Jennifer Weyeneth agrees. She says while extra security is never a bad thing, she would like to see more money put into programs that can help troubled youth.

"I think there is a lot of kids at risk for a myriad of factors and I think pumping money into things like "No Child Left Behind" and things like that really burdens teachers to the point of not seeing the problem."

While many parents agree there's a lot to be done, mom Heather Otwell says the changes the school is making will help ease her mind.

"I think that its great, I think its something that is really needed and I just fully believe in it," Otwell said. @@

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