Heightened school security results from Columbine shooting - KCBD NewsChannel 11 Lubbock

4/19/09

Heightened school security results from Columbine shooting

LUBBOCK, TX (KCBD) - Monday will be 10 years since two Colorado students created a bloodbath in the halls of Columbine High School. Since then, schools across the nation practice heightened security tactics as a result.

The Columbine shootings left many school officials questioning their security systems. One superintendent told NewsChannel 11 that when it comes to his students' safety, he feels his district is a lot more prepared than it use to be.

"It's a shame in a way because, you know, when I was in school, these things weren't necessary," Lubbock Cooper ISD Superintendent Pat Henderson said. "I don't think I ever saw a police officer, but that's the condition, that's the reality of our society."

Ten years ago, teenagers Eric Harris and Dylan Klebold embarked on the massacre at Columbine High School which left 12 of their classmates dead.

 Henderson said the tragedy led him to make strong security changes in his school district.

"We were in the process of talking about a police department throughout the 1998-99 school year and of course in April, 1999, we had Columbine and that kind of expedited the process," Henderson said.

He said following the shootings, the district instantly hired two full-time police officers to monitor their schools. Now, Cooper has added two more day officers, a weeknight officer, and a weekend officer for 24/7 surveillance.

Cooper's newest school, West Elementary, includes a variety of top-of-the line security.

"We have electronic access now instead of regular lock and key," Superintendent Henderson said.

During after hours, teachers must swipe an electronic fob to unlock any door at the school, but visitors are forced to go straight to the office where they are greeted by an officer.

Although this rigorous process may seem extreme, Patterson says it's necessary.

"It's incumbent upon us as school officials that have so many students and so many employees, you know, to protect, to take every single measure that we can," he said.   

Henderson told NewsChannel 11 that since Columbine, Lubbock Cooper ISD has invested hundreds of thousands of dollars into new security systems. The other Lubbock school districts said they've also made security improvements.

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