KANSAS CITY, Mo. - It is human nature to look at Friday's school massacre in Connecticut and think 'That won't happen here.' Well, school districts aren’t afforded that opportunity. In fact, the very opposite is true: Districts have to plan for the very worst.
As America began Friday morning, staring teary-eyed at the television or computer screen, Travis Hux watched without emotion. Hux is the Assistant Superintendent of Support Services for Raytown Schools. He is in charge of school security.
"I try to put myself in a different mindset and think, ‘What do we need to do in our school district so they are as safe as they can be?’" Hux said.
Every Raytown school already has cameras, exit doors that lock from the inside and a doorbell/ intercom system that allows a school secretary to choose who gets in the front door.
“It allows them to take a visual assessment of who is there and the intercom allows her to ask what their intentions are,” Hux explained. “When she clears them, the door will unlock and open automatically."
He said Raytown is actually in the process of restructuring a number of schools’ front doors. The newest elementary school in the district is set up so when a person is allowed into a school, another set of doors blocks that person from entering the actual building, only allowing access to the front office.
That project is a work in progress.
Raytown Schools will spend about $75,000 in the new year on an electronic system that can track who goes into schools and out of schools.
Then, there's the emergency plan of what to do if the unimaginable happens. Response plans for active shooter scenarios were built in conjunction with the Department of Homeland Security.
Hux showed 41 Action News the plan for one of Raytown’s elementary schools, though asked that its name not be released for safety purposes.
Federal and local emergency responders, as well as district officials, have access to the charts, maps and diagrams that lay out how the initial response should look.
“When you have to plan it, then it's too late,” Hux stated.
Independence Superintendent Jim Hinson agrees.
In fact, both men tell 41 Action News they will use Friday’s tragedy as a reason to reassess their own safety measures.
"We will review our camera shots to make sure we can see the entire person and anything that might be at their feet, and on the ground as well," Hinson said.
He said it’s important to pause, reflect and reexamine on a day like Friday when 27 people died at a elementary school, because it’s all just too much to bare.
"These situations, obviously you never want them to occur anywhere, today it's occurred in one school out of approximately 100,000 schools in the country. We don't want to be one of those schools," Hux said.
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