Onalaska security cameras monitor safety in schools - WXOW News 19 La Crosse, WI – News, Weather and Sports |

Onalaska security cameras monitor safety in schools

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ONALASKA, Wisconsin (WXOW) - Students who attended Sandy Hook Elementary in Connecticut returned to school Thursday for the first time since the Dec. 14 tragedy.

The shootings reminded people about the importance of school security.

While it may not be possible to prepare for every danger, the Onalaska School District does have an advanced system in place.

A student body of 900 and a staff of 90 pass through the doors of the high school five days a week.

Thirty-seven tiny cameras help make sure they stay safe.

"They allow us to see what's happening in the hallway. They allow us to check stories if there's conflict between various students. And, in the event of a crisis, it's allows us to essentially see the entire building from one computer and one location," said high school Principal Jared Schaffner.

Schaffner said he can access security video within seconds and watch it back. So can Onalaska police from their squad cars.

"It allows (police) to determine where the resources need to be allocated to," Schaffner said, "It allows professionals in law enforcement the opportunity to hopefully take control of a crisis situation very quickly."

The cameras have been in the school close to a decade. But in the wake of the tragedy at Sandy Hook Elementary, Onalaska's superintendent reached out to parents to tell them the school has a crisis plan and reminded them, "all schools (in the district) have cameras located in strategic places."

"Any time that you know you're being watched, I think everyone behaves in a different manner. And, it's a way for our students to feel safer in the buildings," Schaffner said.

The software update for Onalaska's camera system now allows the school to watch multiple camera feeds at once.

The La Crosse School District has a similar camera system in place.

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