Area schools add security measures - WXOW News 19 La Crosse, WI – News, Weather and Sports |

Area schools add security measures

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LA CROSSE, Wisconsin (WXOW)-- In the wake of the shooting at Sandy Hook Elementary School in Connecticut, school districts around the country are increasing security.

In La Crosse, all district buildings already had surveillance cameras monitoring activities inside the schools. The video feeds from those cameras can be accessed by district officials and police officers. But, now some schools are going even further to boost security for students and staff by adding cameras at the front door.

Shawn Stark's youngest child is six, the same age as most of the victims killed at Sandy Hook.

"It was just horrifying," Stark said. "The innocence, it was absolutely heartbreaking."

As it did for many parents, the tragedy got Stark thinking about the safety measures at his kid's schools.

"Obviously they probably didn't think it'd happen in their town, and I'd like to think the same, but there are not enough precautions to keep my kids safe," Stark said. "Anything they do, I'm absolutely for."

Some schools, like Hamilton Early Learning Center, are now locking all doors during school hours and adding audio visual systems at the front door.

"Every person, as they check in to that building, is getting some camera recognition and they're getting the opportunity to talk to our administrative assistant to understand why they're there, for what purpose," said Randy Nelson, Superintendent of the La Crosse School District.

Nelson says the district is constantly revamping security plans, but a tragedy like Sandy Hook puts the issue front and center.

"We have a safety committee that's meeting all the time to discuss, what are the next measures we can take, what are the other areas that we want to focus on?" Nelson said. "It's something that we're always working on. How do we get to the next level of safety and security for our staff and also for our students?"

And while both Nelson and Stark agree beefing up security is necessary, they say it is a tragedy in and of itself.

"It is disheartening because our schools are public and it just would seem that at the most base level, they should also be safe for the public," Nelson said.

Stark agrees.

"It's absolutely insane to me, you know?" Stark said. "There was none when I was a kid and now you have policemen that, that's their permanent duty is to be at the high schools and junior highs."

Stark says he now he finds himself hanging a little longer after dropping his son off, and coming just a bit earlier to pick him up.

"This is something that will never, ever leave me or my mind or my heart."

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