Area schools equipped with cameras, emergency plans - WXOW News 19 La Crosse, WI – News, Weather and Sports |

Area schools equipped with cameras, emergency plans

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LA CROSSE, WI (WXOW)—A tragedy, like the one at Sandy Hook Elementary School, gets school districts around the country thinking about safety and security plans.

In a taped message to staff, La Crosse Superintendent Randy Nelson asked for prayers for victims in the Sandy Hook shooting and spoke about security measures the La Crosse School district has in place.

"Every one of our schools has an annual emergency plan that they revise annually, they re-do annually," Nelson said. "We work with our local police department and our sheriff's department and our fire departments to review those plans."

Students and staff practice those plans and lock down situations. And every district building is equipped with surveillance cameras, that can be monitored remotely by school officials and law enforcement. The majority of those cameras were purchased with money from a referendum voters approved in 2008.

"We've had a strong cooperation with our law enforcement agencies to provide this technology right inside of the squad cars," Nelson said. "So if something were to happen we could make that video available to law informant agencies."

"But as important as the cameras are, the people are just as important," said Jason Showen, the buildings and grounds manager for the district. "We look at a layered security. We don't just look at one thing to protect our students."

Showen says the doors of school buildings can be locked remotely.

And Nelson says no matter how many plans and security devices you have, there is no substitute for communicating and building relationships with staff, students and parents.

"It's one of those things that's absolutely unimaginable and all we can say, really when something happens, there's a different side of all of us that kicks in for what's necessary for your children and your families," Nelson said. "I just ask everyone to hug their kids tonight."

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