KANSAS CITY, Mo. — Parents with students attending a metro school district will notice new safety and security measures in place when the new year begins next month.

Center School District’s Board of Education approved a plan to add metal detectors to Center High School, Center Academy for Success, and Center Middle School.

The decision was made after the district surveyed students, parents, and staff. More than 70% of people who responded to the survey thought adding metal detectors to the schools was a good idea, according to a letter to parents and guardians.

Metal detectors will also be used to screen all fans who are attending high school football and basketball games.

The district said it focused on those sports because they draw the largest crowds and therefore pose the greatest risk.

High school students will also be required to use clear backpacks. The district said it will give each student a backpack to use free of charge.

The district will also reduce the times students will be allowed to use cell phones during the school day.

The school district said the changes are an effort to help keep students and staff safe at school. Parents and guardians will receive additional information about the cell phone policy soon.

Center School District said there are also other safety measures in place to protect students and staff.

Crews upgraded entrances at all buildings after voters approved a bond issues in 2019. All front office staff are also trained to use procedures that allow only visitors with legitimate business into schools.

Staff members are required to complete ALICE (Alert, Lockdown, Inform, Counter, Evacuate) training and certification every year. The training teaches staff how to move and respond in the event of an active shooting in a building.

The district has school psychologists, social workers, counselors, and administrators on hand who are trained to help students and others before they reach a breaking point.

Parents and students are encouraged to report behavior that seems strange or suspicious to schools immediately. Guardians are also encouraged to let administrators and teachers know if a student is going through a particularly rough time or facing new challenges.

The 2022-23 school year begins Aug. 24 for the Center School District.

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