Muscatine Community School District looking at ways to improve safety in schools

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MUSCATINE, Iowa (KWQC) -- In light of the recent school shooting in Parkland, some local schools are looking at ways to improve safety. The Muscatine Community School District says safety is a priority and is working closely with local law enforcement to make sure schools are safe and secure.

"We're at a point as a country, as a state, as a community we have to make sure that we are making sure that our most precious commodity, our students, our kids, are safe," said Superintendent Jerry Riibe.

Riibe said the district is looking at adding additional cameras in buildings.

"You can get a lot of coverage with the new cameras and a lot of angles so we're going to look at what we can improve with that," he said.

A number of buildings in the district also have intruder locks on doors and Riibe said they are working on completing that process this summer.

"Every teacher has a key that will get them into their room and it will also lock from the inside, so you can lock yourself and your students into a secure location," said Karen Hartman, an elementary school teacher in the district.

The intruder locks allow first responders to quickly get into the room if they need to.

Riibe said the district will also continue to look at improving mental health services, like adding additional counselors and continuing partnerships with local health providers.

"If we can protect peoples lives by providing that additional help, providing that additional support, this is where our money is best spent," he said.

Hartman said the recent school shooting is a reminder for teachers to be alert and are connecting with students.

"It's just one more reminder for us to always be vigilant and to always be careful. It's a reminder for us as teachers to be making connections with all of our students... We really want them to feel that they're safe and loved and wanted," said Hartman.

Hartman said teachers at Colorado Elementary also carry a casualty kit and have been trained by local EMS in case of an emergency. Teachers also carry faculty members' contact information with them at all times.