Local School District Making Schools Safer

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BOWLING GREEN, Ky (WBKO) -- (Beep) That's the sound you hear before anyone walks through the front doors of North Jackson Elementary School in Barren County.

School Bus

"The new Maglock system allows us to lock down all day long, and we control entry and exit of everyone in the building. It buzzes inside. It pops up on our computer screen. At that point, we have a speaker box we can communicate with them and see what their business is at our school. We also require picture ID before anyone enters the building," said North Jackson Elementary School Principal Anthony Frazier.

Technology like this, along with a school resource officer, controls who goes in and out of the building at all times.

"Anytime you get police officers in the school, and anytime you can add one more measure... one more layer of safety for our children, you just can't beat that. Even if it's a little bit less convenient, when you weigh that with the safety of our kids, it's just a no brainer," said North Jackson Elementary School Parent Brent Zalla.

Barren County Sheriff Kent Keen was once a school resource officer, and says his department also helps distribute a plan for first responders in case of emergencies.

"We do things like have schematics of the buildings and evacuation procedures updated and refined, so that emergency responders, EMS, fire and police can load those into their mobile data terminals and view those from their car," said Barren County Sheriff Kent Keen.

The superintendent says the state is also monitoring the safety of all schools.

"Last week we had visitors from the Kentucky Center for School Safety in our district to conduct unannounced safety audits of our schools, and from that, reports will be generated and shared with building administrators and then on to members of the board of education," said Barren County Schools Superintendent Bo Matthews.

Matthews says those reports will help the district decide how to use their resources to make even more safety improvements.

Sheriff Keen says the 56 acre area between Barren County Middle and High schools, the vocational school, and the nearby WKU Glasgow campus, make up nearly 3,000 students that his school resource officer helps patrol, and additional deputies frequently check the area.

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