GRUNDY CENTER, Iowa (KWWL) – In less than two weeks, students will be hitting the books once again across the state.
The back to school season brings its own set of worries for students and parents alike however. People have purchased bullet-proof backpacks. School districts are also taking steps to make sure students return home safe at the end of the day.
Grundy Center, despite being a small district, has put measures in place to stop a tragedy before it happens.
“We have to think about those things. We can’t push those aside and think it’s not going to happen here. It can definitely happen here,” said Alissa Loew, Grundy Center Resource Officer.
Grundy Center has installed 75 cameras in and around the school buildings. Those cameras can be accessed immediately by police and administration.
Loew said they’re constantly scanning for potential threats, but they’re also ready for the day something happens.
“Our policy has always been the first officer goes in immediately. You don’t wait for backup or set up a perimeter. We go in and take care of the threat,” she said.
Loew is at the school most days, so there’s a good chance she would be the one responding.
“I know these kids so well and that’s hard knowing that it could be one of my kids I’m used to interacting with all the time. That can be difficult,” she said.
From locking all the doors but one to adding a secured entry system, Robert Hughes, Grundy Center District Superintendent, said they also have to keep an eye on the internet.
“Monitoring social media has greatly increased. A lot of times we know of interactions between students or if a student is struggling with an issue,” Hughes said.
He said they want to get to a student who’s having trouble and help them before they take something to extremes.
The district is also adding a few new security measures this year.
Soon, all visitors will be required to scan their ID before entering the school. This will then trigger a quick background check for things like being a sex offender or other crimes. This will help staff determine whether or not to let someone in.
The schools are also replacing all of their old clocks with new ones that have a digital message board. These message boards will be able to display urgent messages to any classroom at the push of a button.
Hughes said the biggest thing in education is safety. He said before students can learn effectively, they must first feel safe and secure in their environment.