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The Leavenworth Times - Leavenworth, KS
  • School officials focus on security

  • While local school officials haven't committed to putting armed guards in their buildings, they say they are taking measures to improve security.
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  • While local school officials haven't committed to putting armed guards in their buildings, they say they are taking measures to improve security.
    Following the Dec. 14 shooting a Sandy Hook Elementary School in Newtown, Conn., one of the suggestions for preventing such a tragedy in the future has been armed guards in schools.
    Leavenworth High School already has one armed police officer who works there on a regular basis as a school resource officer. And the school has other unarmed security officers.
    Leavenworth Superintendent Kelly Crane said having security officers who are trained to use firearms in the schools ultimately would have to be a decision approved by the Board of Education. She said officials are still evaluating the issue.
    Officials are planning other measures to improve security such as changes to help control access to the schools. Frequent visitors to Leavenworth High School may have already noticed one change. The security desk has been moved to what has been designated as the visitors entrance.
    At one time, the Lansing school district had a school resource officer. But Lansing Superintendent Randy Bagby said the position became a casualty of budget cuts.
    But Bagby said Lansing police officers still have a presence in the presence in schools, making intermittent visits.
    "People don't know when they're going to be there," he said.
    He said this avoids patterns, and people don't know when to expect officers at the schools.
    When making the visits, officers can park their vehicles where others can't, which increases their visibility, Bagby said.
    Easton Superintendent Chuck Coblentz said his district is making changes to improve security. But he expressed concerns about having armed staff in the schools including the idea of allowing teachers to carry firearms.
    Coblentz expressed concern about the potential for accidents as well as issues with insurance liability. He also expressed concern regarding whether employees who are allowed to carry firearms would have appropriate training to deal with an armed person coming into a school.
    The Easton district does have a school resource officer, something Coblentz has found beneficial.

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