Wapello School District Considers Armed Guard - News and Weather For The Quad Cities -

Wapello School District Considers Armed Guard

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It's been two months and one day since a gunman opened fire at Sandy Hook Elementary School in Newtown, Connecticut. The tragedy now has a local school district evaluating its own safety measures.

The Wapello Community School District is making changes that may even include an armed guard.

"Wapello is a very safe place for people to be," said Wapello Schools Superintendent, Mike Peterson. But the school buildings are a different story.

"We formed a couple of building level committees to do safety audits," Peterson said.

"It's forcing us to take a look at how we currently operate and the changes we need to make."

Something that could be changing immediately is the security at the entrances to school buildings. Right now, people can typically just walk inside.

"We ask our staff to be vigilant about what they see in the hallways," Peterson said. "If they don't recognize somebody or know why they're there, direct them to the office." But district officials want to eliminate the ease with which someone can just walk right in.

"A buzz-in system or a keyless entry is something we are looking at."

A list of other potential security measures includes new names badges, radios for staff, more camera surveillance and panic buttons. But one of the more controversial security upgrades that the district is considering is an armed guard.

"I think there are benefits just beyond the actual security that it would provide," said Peterson. "Ideally, I'd like to see a partnership between local law enforcement."

But first, the district needs to figure out how to pay for all of these changes.

"Whether we're going to be able to do that or not, time is going to tell."

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