OVERLAND PARK, Kan. — Parents of the Blue Valley school district received a letter this week informing parents of some of the general safety enhancements, hoping to add another layer of security in schools.
“I think security is the answer to a lot of the violence we have in our schools,” parent, Jennifer Parkin said.
“It made me feel a little bit better,” Parent John Reynolds said. “I've been thinking, we can protect airports, and courthouses and some other federal buildings, I thought we ought to try to do a bit better job protecting our schools and making them more secure.”
One change coming this summer is implementing buzz-in entries at all district schools.
Cedar Hills Elementary was the pilot school for the installment.
“About a month ago we had to get buzzed. We have to hold up an ID card and come close to the camera and they look you up in the computer to make sure they know who you are,” Reynolds said. “And they buzz you in and so it's a good feeling and I was happy to see today.”
After the Parkland shooting, the district created a safety task force to thoroughly review current safety practices and what can be improved.
“When you talk about the tragedies, it's traumatizing,” Director of Safety and Security, Dan Carney said. “This is what I do everyday, to think about this, to know about this and then to hear that another situation has occurred is just so disturbing.”
Carney said it’s a multifaceted problem, that’s why the task force is looking at the layers of security that’s already in place and what new layers can be added to further minimize risks.
"We'll never stop examining that, never stop trying to minimize that risk but we want to do it in a thoughtful way and we want to make changes that we believe will be effective," Carney said.
Another change is a P3 tips app high school students can use.
“And they can get on there and anonymously report threats, if they know someone is feeling suicidal, if they know someone who's on the path of violence, they can get on and text a tip that goes to the tips hotline. People, that's manned 24/7 and that information comes right back to us," Carney said.
School leaders are hoping these changes will give that added layer of school safety for its students.
“You drop your kids off at school, you’d hope they're safe and secure and you can pick them up at the end of the day and they're getting a good education,” Reynolds said.
In the upcoming school year, the district is looking to have full-time school resource officers in the middle school.