Kansas schools, including metro districts, get $5 million in grants to upgrade security

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OVERLAND PARK, Kan. -- Several area school districts will be a little more prepared for an active shooter this year.

The Kansas State Department of Education doled out $5 million in grants for schools to make safety improvements. School districts were eligible for up to $19.24 per student in matching grants for installing security systems or for securing classroom doors, windows or entrances.

Blue Valley Schools already had taken steps to secure its front doors, but teachers told staff they were worried having to step into the hall to lock classroom doors could put them in harms way.

"This is the only way to lock the door, so you have to step outside the door put a key in lock it and then step back in and pull it shut," Dan Carney, Blue Valley safety and security director, demonstrated.

So they're in the beginning stages of changing the locks to thousands of doors to a simple thumb turn from inside using $429,000 in grant money.

“What I love about this lock is from clear across the room you can see that it's unlocked," Carney said showing a door at Wolf Springs Elementary.

The school was built in 2017 and is one of the few in the district that already had the more modern locks and doors.

Olathe will use $250,00 to buy door barricades; Turner gets $76402 for surveillance cameras, replacing hollow doors with solid core and adding shatter proof film to windows.

Additionally, $286,500 will help Kansas City, Kansas get a new schoolwide alert system. Spring Hill, Desoto and Bonner Springs also all received grants totaling nearly $150,000 combined.

Every district who accepts the grant pledges to spend an equal amount on the security upgrades themselves.

For Dan Carney it's money well spent.

"We realize the chances of having a school shooting are very very low. But we still just want to know that we've done our best to keep everyone safe," Carney said.

Missouri's Department of Elementary and Secondary Education said although there's no grant program for physical upgrades, they do offer $300,000 for scholarships for security training.

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