Okemos schools upgrade their safety provisions

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Okemos schools have a long running reputation of being a top quality school district.

“The reputation was outstanding and still is,” said Dean Bolton, president of the Okemos Board of Education. “My wife and I chose to live in Okemos solely based on the school system.”

However, parents are still nervous to send their kids off to school there every day.

Kristen Brooks is a mom of two students in Okemos schools and is a founding member of the steering committee for the Secure Our Schools Organization. This organization promotes to keep doors locked while their kids are inside every day.

With recent school shootings around the nation and a previous bomb threat at an Okemos school, Okemos schools superintendent has proposed new security provisions that were approved at Monday night’s school board meeting.

“I know the chances are very low, like the chances that you get into a car accident are much higher, I get that. But it’s terrifying to send your children off especially currently in a school system that does not have locked doors,” Brooks.

In addition to locking the doors during the day, the new security upgrades will include a buzzer system with cameras for visitors looking to come in.

“These are really basic baseline measures that law enforcement experts are shocked we don’t have in place already,” Brooks.

Dean Bolton, the President of the Okemos School Board said he is disappointed that it’s come to this in our country.

“But nothing we ever do will prevent an attack,” said Bolton. “All we can do is have layers of protection that will hopefully mitigate an episode, an attack.”

According to Bolton, the total costs for the new cameras and buzzer system will not exceed $25,000.

But many parents like Brooks say this is just the beginning.

“There’s 3M film that can be placed over windows which makes it shatterproof and that is relatively safe and not an intrusive measure of security,” said Bolton.

A more costly and more significant change that Bolton mentions could be a possibility for the future is redesigning entry ways so that visitors are automatically in the main office.

“We know that there’s a lot more work that we can do together and I’m hopeful for it,” said Bolton.