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Are local schools safe?

By Stephanie Hale-Lopez
Published On: Dec 14 2012 08:02:45 PM CST

Local schools have safety procedures in place.

AMMON, Idaho -

The Friday shooting at a Connecticut elementary school that left 20 children and six adults dead has many parents in our area thinking about the safety of their children.

School administrators in Bonneville School District 93 said they have a lot of security measures in place, from video surveillance to single-point entry and even magnetic spring doors.

At Ammon Elementary, the oldest elementary school in the district, one door is the only point of entry for everyone. Once inside, there is another set of doors that are locked 24/7 unless a school administrator unlocks it for you.

"It's a matter of when it's going to happen, not if,” said Guy Bliesner, the district's health, safety and security coordinator. He said schools need to be prepared.

"It's like lightning. Lightning strikes somewhere every day."

It's that uncertainty that has Bonneville County schools prepared for even the worst possible scenario. Safety components like video cameras in every hallway, a security system housed in the main office, and every door but one locked during the school day keep students safe.

"The exterior doors are magnetically locked, so they don't release unless someone unlocks it from the inside or unless it's told to do so by the computer program," said Ammon Elementary Principal Lanie Keller.

That computer program also keeps track of activity inside the school. In fact, just this morning something unexpected tripped the sensors and notified the school of abnormal movement.

"A paper snowman had fallen off the wall, where it was on display at student artwork, and it was on the floor,” said Keller. “You could see it fall on the camera and that's what tripped the alarm – something that delicate."

School administrators said keeping students safe is the No. 1 priority, and it takes a lot of work to maintain a high level of safety.

"I know that I sleep better at nights to be honest, not worrying about who is going to be coming into my school because they have to go through me first to get there," said Keller.

We also talked to a spokeswoman from Idaho Falls School District 91, who said the district works closely with local law enforcement and most of their schools have video surveillance as well.

In addition, schools across the state prepare for emergency situations multiple times during the school year with drills and lockdown trainings.

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